Can An Independent Contractor Claim Workers Compensation?

Law Articles

Being an independent contractor or small business owner gives you a large degree of control over your own work, but this arrangement comes with its own financial risks. One of the biggest financial risks is that you cannot claim workers compensation after an injury. However, if you were injured while working for a client, there may be exceptions to this rule.

If you can prove that your relationship was an employee-employer relationship rather than a contractor-client relationship, you may be entitled to workers compensation. Here is a look at what you need to consider. Keep in mind, however, that laws vary from state to state, and you should consult with a workers compensation attorney to see what the laws are in your state..

Employees versus Independent Contractors

If you are contracting for an individual or a company, you are considered to be a contractor rather than an employee. However, in order to be a contractor, your relationship must meet certain criteria. Most of the criteria is related to who controls the work and who bears the liability for its success or failure.

In order to be considered a contractor, you must control how you work. If the individual contracting you requires you to work at certain times in a certain place in a certain way, he or she is acting as an employer rather than an entity who is contracting you.

Other factors that are weighed when establishing whether a relationship is a employee-employer or contractor-client relationship is the mode of pay, the furnishing of the work tools, and the right of the contracted individual to seek and accept other work. If you are contracting in the construction field, the criteria used to determine if you are a contractor or an employee is even more specific.

Building and Construction Contractors

In most states, building and construction contractors are classified separately from other trades, and in order to be classified as an independent contractor in this field, you must meet a number of criteria. If you do not meet the following criteria, you are actually an employee and thus able to get workers compensation after an injury:

  • You have a federal employer tax ID number or you have filed taxes as an self-employed individual in the past.

  • You have your own business (office, tools, etc), separate from the person who contracted you to do the work.

  • You have a contract with your client, but you do the work on your terms, and you are responsible for its success and liable for its failure.

  • You receive commission or compensation based on the job you complete, not based on the time spent working.

  • You are responsible for expenses throughout the project, and you have recurring business expenses for other clients.

If those conditions have not been met, you may be considered an employee, and your client (or employer) may be responsible for paying your workers compensation claim.

Workers Compensation Coverage Options

In some cases, even if you are an independent contractor, your client can purchase workers compensation on your behalf. This does not make you their employee. It is simply a perk of the contracting agreement. In other cases, you can even buy your own coverage.

Getting Workers Compensation

If you are an independent contractor who was hurt on the job, do not assume that you have no right to workers compensation. A workers compensation attorney can help you to determine if the person contracting your services was actually acting like an employer, and if so, your lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call for more information and a consultation and get your questions answered today.


2 September 2014

Car Accident Clues

It can be hard to know what to do to protect yourself legally in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You’re liable to be disoriented or in shock, you may be injured, and you’re surely worried about your passenger or the other driver. At least, that’s how I felt. The thing is, the things you say and do in the immediate aftermath of an accident may affect a legal case later. Depending on who’s at fault and what the laws are in your state, you may want to sue the other driver for damages, or you may find yourself being sued. My blog is designed to give you tips for a car accident lawsuit, no matter which side you find yourself on.