Can I claim injury compensation as an agency worker?Updated: March 20, 2020
If you are a temporary or agency worker and have been injured at work, you may wonder if you have the same right to claim compensation as a regular employee. As an agency worker, you would be entitled to claim, although there are certain points to be aware of.
Employer's 'duty of care'
In the UK, there is a raft of legislation protecting workers, such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Employers have a legal 'duty of care' to provide a safe working environment for their employees.
You must receive appropriate training and protective clothing and equipment (PPE) must be provided.
This duty is owed to all employees regardless of whether they work on a full or part-time basis, or whether they are contracted through a third-party agency.
If the employer breaches their duty of care and a worker is injured, then that individual will have the right to compensation. In most cases, it makes no difference whether the injured person has a permanent employment contract or is working through an employment agency.
Is the agency or the workplace operator liable?
As an agency worker, you will normally take instructions from the company that provides the work, as opposed to the agency that technically employs you.
The agency will typically place you in a company that operates the place of work, provides work equipment and determines how the work is carried out.
For example, if you are an office temp and you sustain a manual handling injury when asked to lift heavy boxes, the workplace operator would probably be liable for your injury.
If you need to make a slip or trip work compensation claim following an accident when temping in a shop, it is the retail business against whom a claim would likely be made.
If an accident occurs in these circumstances, then a claim may be brought against the ultimate employer rather than the agency. That is because the employer owns or controls the workplace and the work process.
I am an agency worker, can I claim compensation?
If you have been injured while working as a temp or agency worker at another company's premises, due to another party's negligence, the answer is likely "Yes".
When you start a claim, your solicitor will look at the facts of your case and explain in more detail who is responsible for your accident and whether you can claim compensation.
There are several things you can do to improve your chances of making a successful claim.
What to do if you have been injured working as a temp or for an agency?
Make your own notes of what happened
Even if you have a copy of the official accident book record of your accident, you should still write your own account of what happened, and keep copies of any paperwork. It is much easier to gather information like names and contact details of witnesses and photos of the accident scene if you act quickly.
As an agency worker, you may not have the same access as a regular employee as time passes, so you should aim to act quickly if you can.
Reporting a work accidentThe company where you are working should have a procedure in place to record any accident in the workplace, usually in an accident book.
The agency you work for should also have a procedure in place, and they may be able to advise you further, so you should make sure you notify them too.
If you remember anything about the accident after the report is filed, you should notify both the agency and the workplace where your accident happened in writing (e.g. by email).
Read next: Correctly reporting a work accident
Get your injury seen to
Even minor injuries can develop into more chronic conditions if left untreated. If you received first aid at the scene of the accident, you should still be checked out by a medical professional.
Your doctor will be better able to identify the risk of these injuries and recommend treatment or that you see a specialist. The medical records from your exam will also help support an injury claim if you decide to claim compensation in the future.
Read next: Why you must see a doctor
How much can I claim if injured as an agency worker?
The compensation you can claim for an injury or illness at work is worked out in two parts:
- General damages - based on the physical pain and suffering you have experienced as the result of your injuries, any mental anguish and the impact on your social life, family and hobbies
- Special damages - based on your financial losses, like lost wages and treatment costs
The Work Accident Advice Centre online calculator sets out what you can claim for, and how much compensation you could claim.
No win, no fee temp and agency worker claims
No win, no fee work injury claims are made using a solicitor. Your solicitor will correspond with the company responsible for your accident and their insurance company, to negotiate the best compensation settlement for you.
Under a No Win, No Fee agreement, solicitors' legal fees will only be payable if the claim is successful.
If your No Win, No Fee claim is not successful, you will have no legal fees to pay.
If you have been injured at work in the last 3 years, you may be able to claim financial compensation.
Find out more about making a work accident claim:
- Do you qualify?
- How much compensation could you get?
- How does No Win, No Fee work?