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Work Injury Claims When Self Employed

By 10 November 2021News & Articles
Person using a crutch

Dealing with any injury that results in a loss of ability to work can be stressful. The physical, emotional and financial toll these injuries can cause can be incredibly difficult to face. When injuries as a result of work are discussed, they are often through the lens of employees in the workplace – but what about sole traders? Independent contractors are not immune from suffering work-related injuries, but the context around sole traders workers compensation is a bit more complicated, and less regularly talked about.

What is a sole trader?

Before diving into the nitty gritty, it’s first worth understanding the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. Employees provide labour to an employer and are therefore considered to be part of that business. Alternatively, contractors independently sell and provide a service, which means they are running their own business and are effectively self employed.

What insurance does a sole trader need?

So before getting into the claim process around self employed workcover and injuries, it is first worth asking the question – what insurance does a sole trader need? It is worth noting that the following is a rough summation, and that other types of insurance may be required for sole traders operating in specific industries.

The answer is a complicated mix depending on what business you operate, but generally speaking, public liability insurance is compulsory and legally required for all sole traders. Past this, personal or loss of income insurance is good to have up your sleeve, and directly relates to your ability to make claims in the event of an injury. Sole traders are not able to cover themselves as employees under a workers compensation insurance, which is why there is a need for sole traders to cover themselves through a private insurer.

Public liability insurance protects a sole trader so that in the event an accident or injury occurs as a result of you providing your services, you are covered.

Personal insurance on the other hand is more of a catch-all term and is used to cover unexpected circumstances that may cause you to suffer personal income or business losses. Personal insurance may refer to any number of things such as life insurance, income protection or disability insurance. Not only do these types of insurance provide you peace of mind, they mean that you would be able to receive payments from your insurer if you find yourself unable to work (whether from illness, injury or something else altogether).

first aid kit and medical supplies

How does sole trader workers compensation work?

If you suffer an injury or fall ill enough that it renders you unable to work, there is a series of processes you must go through before you are able to make a claim. The most important preluding factor is determining the amount of income lost.

Determining income loss can tend to be more complicated for those that are self employed as proving the amount of income you are missing out on can be difficult. Where employees have regular pay slips or timesheets, those that are self employed have a different system for keeping records, and their income over a given period may fluctuate depending on business demands and work they have on. As a general rule of thumb, the more documentation you can provide supporting your previous incomes, the better your chance is of recovering your losses.

A few types of documentation that are valuable to support your claim can include:

  • Invoices and receipts for a period (generally a year or more) leading up to your accident or event that rendered you unable to work
  • Accounts and Tax Returns for approximately three years prior to the accident
  • Contact information or details of peers who can verify the income you would have earned if you had been able to work during the period

Making a claim after a self employed injury

Once you have the sufficient documentation gathered, you can go about making a claim with your insurer.

At GC Law we understand that dealing with an injury and gathering extensive documentation to ensure you recoup lost revenue while you heal is a stressful situation, which is why we are here to help. Get in contact with one of our injury lawyers Gold Coast today for a free case review and we can help ensure you have everything you need to make a successful case for sole traders workers compensation and that the amount put forward is truly reflective of the revenue you have lost.

Not sure if you have a compensation claim? Contact us for a free consultation today.

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