If you are an agency worker and suffer an accident at work that leaves you injured, whether your injuries are slight or more severe, you may wonder who could be held liable. Because this type of claim can be complex, it is best to discuss your case with a solicitor who would be in the best position to determine whether it is the recruitment agency or the employer who could be deemed responsible. To find out more on whether you can sue a recruitment agency for an accident at work that left you injured, please read on.
What is the Definition of an Agency Worker?
If you have signed a contract with a recruitment agency that finds you temporary work for various employers, you are an agency worker which means you can also be referred to as being a “temp”. The following criteria establishes that you are an agency worker:
- That you have a contract with a recruitment agency
- That the recruitment agency finds you temporary work with various employers
- When you are working for an employer on a temporary basis, the employer is in control of the work you carry out for them
- That you are not self-employed
You are not classed as an “agency” worker if any of the following apply to you:
- A recruitment agency finds you temporary work, but you are self-employed
- You have signed a Managed Service Contract with the agency – which means the work you carry out for an employer is a specific service that is provided by the agency – examples being cleaning, catering and other jobs that involve the agency telling you what must be done on a day to day basis, in short, it is the agency that is in control of the work you carry out
Should you suffer an injury in an accident at work and the recruitment agency is in “control” of the tasks you are charged to carry out on a daily basis, liability for the incident and your injuries may fall to the recruitment agency providing you can prove their negligence and meet specific criteria which are listed below:
- That the working environment you were sent to was unsafe to work in
- That the accident occurred within the last 3 years
With this said, very often it is both the recruitment agency and the employer who are deemed responsible which is when vicarious liability comes into effect. If you suffered an injury while working for an employer that a recruitment agency placed you with and would like to know who may be held liable, it is best to discuss your case with an accident at work lawyer who specialises in recruitment agency claims.
A Recruitment Agency’s Liability Insurance Responsibilities
When it comes to liability for accidents at work that leave you injured when you are working through a recruitment agency, it would depend on several factors as to whether the agency could be held responsible. By law, they must have liability insurance in place for their own employees, but they should also have in place cover that specifically covers them for vicarious liability as well as the following:
- Insurance cover for standard contracts
- Insurance cover for non-standard contracts
Recruitment agencies should have an insurance package that is specifically designed to cover the people who work for them and for the people they place in jobs bearing in mind that there should be a clear distinction between the two. Because recruitment agencies now play an important role in the employment industry, insurance companies have come to understand the specialist cover that is required.
What is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability covers accidents and injuries caused through the negligence of a third party. Because recruitment agencies are sometimes deemed as “employers” of temporary or agency staff, they could be held liable to a certain extent should you be involved in an accident at work that leaves you injured. A court could decide that all “parties” be held responsible which includes the employer you are working for on a temporary basis and the recruitment agency that found you the placement.
With this said, a recruitment agency may just be responsible for paying “defence costs”. However, because there has been an increase in the number of non-standard contracts, a recruitment agency may only be held partly responsible/negligent for the injuries you sustain. The reason being that a recruitment agency has a duty of care towards you which is particularly true when it comes to accident at work claims that are filed by blue collar workers. The reason being that they typically suffer more severe injuries in the workplace than their white collar workers counterparts.
What are My Workers Rights After Suffering an Injury at Work?
All agency and temporary workers who are involved in an accident at work that leaves them with some sort of injury whether minor or more serious, have certain rights some of which are listed below:
- The right to seek compensation for the pain and suffering as well as out of pocket expenses you incurred as a direct result of having been injured in the workplace
Because it can be challenging when it comes to determining liability for your injuries, it is best to seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in recruitment agency accident at work claims.
Should I Sue a Recruitment Agency for an Injury at Work?
If you work for the recruitment agency under contract, whether as a cleaner, caterer or provide another service that is organised by a recruitment agency for specific employers and you suffer a workplace injury, you would be entitled to seek compensation from the recruitment agency. However, because this type of claim is complex, it is best to speak to a solicitor who would determine whether you have a strong case and who could be held responsible for the injuries you sustained while at work. A solicitor may find that both the recruitment agency and the employer you were working for at the time of the accident that left you injured share the responsibility. As such, you could sue the recruitment agency and you could also seek compensation from the employer you were working for at the time.
Employers and recruitment agencies in the UK are legally bound to have liability insurance in place. Recruitment agencies must have insurance packages that cover both their own staff and the workers they find placements for. As such, filing a recruitment agency accident claim would be handled by insurance companies who would also settle a claim should it be successful.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Claim Against a Recruitment Agency?
As with all accident at work claims, you have 3 years from the date of the accident that left you with injuries to file a claim against a recruitment agency. If you wait too long, you may fall foul of this statutory time limit bearing in mind that proving your case against a recruitment agency can be a long, drawn out and complex legal process that is often hotly disputed. The 3 year time limit for accident at work claims are explained below:
- 3 years from the date of the accident that left you injured
- 3 years from the date an official diagnosis was made of a work-related health issue you developed
- 3 years from the date of your 18th birthday, should you have been injured before you were the age of 18
To avoid missing out on filing a recruitment agency claim following an accident at work that left you injured, you should contact a solicitor who would provide essential legal advice which is typically done in a no obligation, initial consultation that is free of charge.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on Recruitment Agency Accident Claim?
Because recruitment agency claims tend to be complex, it is far better to seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in this type of personal injury claim. It could be that both the recruitment agency and the employer you were working for at the time of the accident share liability for the injuries you sustained. As such, a solicitor would communicate with both the recruitment agency’s insurers and the insurers that cover the employer you were placed with. This leaves you to concentrate on your recovery rather than having to represent yourself in what is often a complicated legal process.
Solicitors who handle accident at work claims have access to legal libraries which is essential when filing this type of complex claim. They are also familiar with the all the legal procedures that must be adhered to when making an accident at work claim. This ensures that the process begins correctly which in turn means there is far less chance of having to put up with unnecessary hold-ups. In short, working with a solicitor on a recruitment agency claim could speed up what is often a long, drawn out, complicated legal process.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Recruitment Agency Accident Claim?
If you have suffered an injury at work when placed with an employer by a recruitment agency, you should seek legal advice before taking the matter any further. As previously mentioned, this type of accident at work claim can be more complex because proving who is liable for your injuries can be challenging. A solicitor would typically offer a no obligation, initial consultation for which there would be no charge. This allows them to determine whether you have a claim and whether you have a strong case against a recruitment agency, an employer or if both can be held responsible for the injuries you sustained.
Once a solicitor has determined your claim is strong and who could be held liable for your injuries, they would typically offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis and as such you would sign a CFA with the solicitor which is a legal contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement where you will find the Terms and Conditions as well as the percentage you agree to pay a solicitor which is called a “success fee”. This is only payable on successful recruitment agency claims. If your case is unsuccessful, you would not have to pay for the legal representation you received on your recruitment agency claim.