Independent Contractors and Workers’ Compensation: What You Need to Know
15 March 2016
Workers’ Compensation, Personal Injury Law, and Independent Contractors: How They’re All Connected
If you’ve been injured on the job, you could be facing medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to your workplace injury. The first thing to do following a job-related injury is to seek necessary medical help and ensure that you’re all right. After that, you’re going to want to determine who is responsible for your expenses. If you are an independent contractor, this is often an especially-concerning issue. Depending on the terms of your employment, you may still be eligible for compensation. Continuing reading for more details.
What is an Independent Contractor?
Simply put, an independent contractor is someone who provides a service or goods to another person or business under terms of a contract. Someone can be hired as an independent contractor through a written or verbal contract. E.g. A sales representative for a brand is typically hired through a written contract because they’re expected to follow certain guidelines while representing that brand. On the other hand, a babysitter is usually hired through a verbal agreement.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance provided by employers to their employees. Should an employee get injured on the job, their employer’s workers’ compensation policy should compensate them for lost wages and medical expenses related to the injury. If you do file a workers’ compensation claim, you’re agreeing not to sue your employer for negligence.
Are Independent Contractors Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
Typically, independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation. This is because, in the legal definition, independent contractors define their own work terms. In other words, if you are an independent contractor in the true sense, your employer can specify what they expect you to produce. What they cannot do is specify what you’ll do and how you’ll do it.
Now, this is where the subject of workers’ compensation and independent contractors can become a gray area. In some cases, you could be given the title of “independent contractor” by your employer and sign papers agreeing to this title and terms of employment—and yet, in the eyes of the law, you are a full-time employee. This happens when employers want to cut the costs of their insurance and benefits programs by classifying you as an independent contractor. If you’ve been provided with supplies (like a company vehicle), instructed on how/when/where to perform your duties, and trained on your job requirements, it is more than likely that you’re an employee and not an independent contractor.
Injured on the Job? Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in San Antonio
If you have been injured on the job and feel that you may be entitled to compensation for your accident, contact a personal injury lawyer in your area. Because each individual situation is unique, only your attorney can advise you on your legal rights and what you could be compensated for (if you are entitled to compensation). Learn more about workers’ compensation and our legal services below.