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Can You Pursue a Workers’ Compensation Claim as an Independent Contractor?

Can You Pursue a Workers’ Compensation Claim as an Independent Contractor?

Often, in Workers’ Compensation cases, an employer may attempt to deny an employee’s workers’ compensation claim based on the employer alleging that the worker was an independent contractor as opposed to being classified as an employee. However, the employer may be misinformed about these separate classifications. When you are injured at work, consider the following factors in determining whether you would qualify as an independent contractor or an employee for Workers’ Compensation purposes:

1. Did you perform work for the employer for a short period of time rather than an extended period of time?

- A shorter work relationship between yourself and the employer tends to favor an independent contractor classification.

2. Were you paid by the unit of work (per job or per unit work basis) performed, rather than by the unit of time (salary or hourly) worked?

- Payment based on unit of work favors an independent contractor classification.

3. Did you have control over the time, manner, and method of work that you performed?

- If the employer did not have a “right to control” these aspects of your work, a showing of such will favor an independent contractor classification.

4. Was a contract, either express or implied, formed between yourself and the employer creating an independent contractor relationship?

- If a contract expressing such intent was created, then your status will favor an independent contractor classification.

5. Did the agreement that you formed with the employer contemplate a beginning, continuance, and end?

- If the agreement does contemplate these periods, a showing of such will favor an independent contractor classification.

6. Did the employer provide you with the tools to do your job, or did you furnish your own tools to perform the job?

- If you furnished a majority of the tools by yourself, then your classification will favor that of an independent contractor.

7. Does the work that you performed for the employer generally require a high level of skill to complete?

- Jobs that require higher levels of skill generally favor an independent contractor classification.

8. Did the employer determine your work hours, or were you in control over your own work schedule?

- If the employer determined your work hours, a showing of such will generally favor an employee classification.

9. If you had any employees working for you, did you have the right to control their work, or did your employer possess this control?

- If you had the right to hire and fire your employees at your own discretion without any significant interference from the employer, a showing of such will generally favor an independent contractor classification.

10. Is your business separate and distinct from that of the employer?

- When the claimant’s work is considered to be a part of the employer’s regular work or business, a showing of such favors an employee classification.

11. Did the employer withhold taxes from amounts that were paid to you?

- When the employer has withheld taxes from amounts that they have paid you, a showing of such will favor an employee classification.

12. Were you free to work for other individuals/businesses rather than exclusively working for this employer?

- If you performed or had the right to perform work for other employers who are unrelated to the employer, such showing favors an independent contractor classification.

13. Did the employer have the right to add work to your duties without providing you with additional compensation for such work?

- If the employer had the transgression to add work without additional compensation for such work, a showing of such favors an employee classification. The rationale is that when an independent contractor relationship is formed, the agreement specifies a set price for a set amount of work.

Ultimately, being able to demonstrate an employee classification for a larger amount of the listed factors will favor your ability to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. However, only a judge can make such a finding, and it is important to pursue all potential remedies that may be available to you when you are injured at work. To find out more about your rights, please contact us for a further evaluation of your case.

Please be advised: every legal case is different. While this information may be informative, it is not intended to constitute legal advice. To determine if the circumstances presented here apply to your case, please do not hesitate to call us today.