Can Contractors File Workplace Injury Claims?
More and more Americans are working on contract instead of being hired as employees. Being an employee comes with many benefits, including health care and the right to a safe work environment.
Working as an independent contractor, by contrast, leaves workers without many of the guarantees enjoyed by employees. They foot their own health care costs, pay their own taxes and take on much greater risk should they be injured.
However, that doesn’t mean that contractors are completely without options if they become victims of a workplace accident.
Work Comp is For Employees
Workers’ compensation programs are designed for those designated as employees. This means that in the strictest sense of the definition, independent contractors are not covered by workers’ comp. But…
Proving That You Should Be Considered an Employee
Saying that independent contractors are never eligible for workers’ compensation claims is simply inaccurate, no matter what you are told by an employer. A contractor might be able to prove that they are in fact an employee of the company they work for and, therefore, deserve to receive workers’ compensation benefits. There are many ways that a worker can prove that, although an employer might consider them a contract worker, the worker is actually an employee.
You Might Be An Employee If…
- You work in the same office as an employer.
- You have worked for an employer for a long period of time.
- You get the majority of your pay from one particular employer.
- The employer is you only source of income.
- Your role is central to the employer’s offerings.
- The employer trained you to do your job.
- The company you’re working for provides the job-related equipment you use.
These are just a few examples of things that might indicate you are actually an employee, but there are many factors that determine the nature of a relationship between an employee and employer.
Contractors In Name Only
If an employer classifies you as an employee, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a state workers’ compensation board will do the same. There are many intangibles regarding the employer/employee relationship that dictate how a worker might be legally classified. If you sustain injuries on the job due to unsafe work conditions or the negligence of your employer, you should not take for granted the fact that you cannot receive compensation for your injuries.
Pursuing Compensation Beyond the Employer
Depending on where and how you sustained an injury, you might be able to look to other sources for compensation. For example, if you were injured on the property of another party, that party might be held accountable for your injuries if the conditions of that property caused your injuries. If you were injured in a vehicle accident on the job due to the negligence of another driver, you might be able to hold that driver responsible for your injuries.
Our workplace injury attorneys at Guajardo & Marks have years of experience representing injured workers. If you are a contractor who has been injured on the job, we can help you determine the best course of action to seek compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.