Just because your boss says you’re an independent contractor, doesn’t mean you are. In a workers compensation case, the court doesn’t really care what your boss has to say on the matter. They’re going to look at a few other factors. Read on to know how you can get workmans comp as an independent contractor.
Independent Contractors vs. Employees: What’s the Difference?
Independent contractors (also known as freelancers) work independently, often remotely, and usually receive payment based on the number of hours worked rather than hourly wages. Employees typically work at a single location and are paid hourly wages.
Employees may be hired directly by a company or through a staffing agency. Independent contractors must find clients themselves and negotiate rates. They’re responsible for taxes, insurance, and any benefits provided by the employer.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Apply to Independent Contractors?
Workers’ compensation insurance protects employees who suffer injuries at work. But independent contractors aren’t technically employees, so workers’ comp doesn’t apply to them.
That means that when an independent contractor suffers an injury on the job, he or she must pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses and lost wages. And because independent contractors often lack health benefits, they may not be able to afford these costs.
This problem is especially acute for freelancers and small businesses. They’re forced to shoulder the burden of paying for their own health care and lose valuable income due to missed days at work.
How can you avail workmans comp as an independent contractor?
Long story short, whether or not you’re an independent contractor really comes down to how much control your boss has over you. For instance, does your boss set how, when, and where you work? The more control your employer has over these factors, the less likely you’re an independent contractor — even if you’re called an independent contractor in your contract.
Employers in certain industries are notorious for calling employees “independent contractors,” and because it prevents them from having their taxes withheld, many employees are happy to go along with it.
We often see sales representatives, construction workers, and truck drivers who believe they are independent contractors but actually don’t fall into that category when it comes to workers’ compensation.
The best thing to do is to speak with an experienced attorney. We can help you determine exactly how the Industrial Commission will view your position. Our experienced attorneys can also help you apply for workers’ compensation benefits and navigate all of the complicated aspects of workers’ comp law.