Employees who are injured on the job are often able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages. But what happens when an independent contractor is injured at work?
Below, the workers’ compensation attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy answer this question and explain the legal options for obtaining compensation for independent contractors who were injured on the job.
Workers’ Compensation Not Available For Independent Contractors
Unfortunately, most independent contractors are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury. These benefits are usually reserved for employees of the company.
This means that independent contractors who are injured on the job may incur significant financial losses, including medical expenses and lost income from being unable to work.
Options For Injured Independent Contractors
Independent contractors may have a number of options available to them to pursue compensation for the injuries they sustained, including:
Proving You Are An Employee
Sometimes employers will intentionally misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid providing them with benefits like workers’ compensation, health insurance, minimum wage and paid leave. If our attorneys can prove you have been misclassified as an employee, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
If the employer controls any of the following aspects of your work, you may be misclassified as an independent contractor:
- Your working hours
- The materials you use for the job
- Your traveling routes
- Your required training
- The quality of your performance
If we prove you should be classified as an independent contractor, we will check to see if your employer is required to carry coverage.
Some people wrongly assume that sole proprietorships and partnerships are not required to carry workers’ compensation. However, while coverage for the sole proprietor and partners is optional, coverage for their employees is not.
Even if the employer does not have the required insurance, he or she may still be liable for providing these benefits to you.
Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit
You may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the business. However, unlike with workers’ compensation cases, you will have to prove that your employer was negligent or failed to follow proper safety procedures and these actions resulted in your injury.
Negligence means the company failed to uphold a duty of care in the situation where your injury occurred. A duty of care is a legal requirement to take reasonable steps to try to prevent you from suffering an injury.
Our attorneys will need to establish the duty of care existed. In some cases, the duty is outlined in your agreement with the business or may be a matter of following the law. The next step is to show that the business did not uphold this duty and this caused your injuries.
Filing A Third-party Claim
If someone other than the business was responsible for your injuries, you may be able to file a third-party claim against the negligent party. For example, if you were injured while driving to work and another driver ran a stop light and collided with you, you may be able to file a claim against the driver.
Contact An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Even if you are considered an independent contractor, you may have options to pursue compensation against the parties that caused your injuries. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy may be able to help you recover compensation for your lost pay and medical expenses.
We provide a free consultation in which you can discuss your claim with a knowledgeable attorney. We work on a contingency, meaning that we only get paid if you obtain compensation.