Options For Independent Contractors Not Covered By Workers' Compensation
One of the disadvantages of working for yourself is that, in many scenarios, you're considered an independent contractor and not an employee, so taking on certain jobs means you don't have some of the benefits that comes with being an employee. One such benefit is workers' compensation. So, if something were to happen while you're working as an independent contractor, you're not covered under any workers' compensation policy. Here's an overview on why you're not covered, and what you can do to protect yourself if you become injured while on a job.
Law Covers Employees Only
Any company, business or individual that employs workers must carry a workers' compensation policy. This policy protects workers who are injured on the job, but it also protects the employer from being sued if a worker does become injured.
Independent contractors are usually those that do freelance writing, offer consulting services to a business, or even construction or other contracted workers. However, many employees are mis-classified as independent contractors. If you have been injured on a job site and you feel you were a true employee and not an independent contractor, it's best to consult with a workers' compensation lawyer.
Options For Independent Contractors
If you have been injured on a job site where you are deemed an independent contractor, you may consider a couple of different legal options.
The first is looking into a personal injury lawsuit. Employees cannot sue their employers if they've been injured on the job because they're covered by workers compensation, but independent contractors can. You would need to consult with a lawyer who works in the area of personal injury law, but essentially a lawsuit would be filed against the company who was negligent and allowed for your injuries to happen.
Another option you may have is a product liability lawsuit. In these instances, you would take a look at the machinery that you were working with to determine if it somehow failed to work properly, subsequently causing your injuries.
Lastly, have your lawyer look at your job description to determine if you should be deemed an employee and not an Independence contractor. Many companies inadvertently pay workers as independent contractors instead of employees, but some companies knowingly classify workers incorrectly to avoid the responsibilities that do come along with hiring employees, such as payroll taxes, retirement plans, and insurance benefits. Contact a workers' compensation lawyer for more information.