My Employer Tells Me that I am an Independent Contractor—Am I an Employee that is Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
One of the ways that employers get out of having to cover or pay for work-related injuries is by claiming that an injured worker is an independent contractor and not an employee. Injured workers who are independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation unless the independent contractor has elected to purchase insurance on their own. In most cases, independent contractors do not do this as they are either not aware that they have to or it is just too expensive for them to do so.
A so called independent contractor may be an employee under the law despite the employer’s categorization of the injured worker. There are typically five factors the court will look at in order to make a judgment concerning the employment relationship. These include:
1. The right to control the means and manner of performance;
2. The mode of payment;
3. The furnishing of tools and material;
4. Control over the premises where the work was done;
5. The right of discharge.
Although there is a five factor test, the factor that is applied the most weight is the one pertaining to the degree of control one party has a right to exert over the other.
As you can gather, these types of cases are very fact specific. In other words, not every case is going to be the same. It is important that if you find yourself in a situation where you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits on the basis that you are an independent contractor, you should speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer to go over whether or not you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
If you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits or would like to discuss your case further, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Thomas D. Mottaz. We are available to answer your questions with either an in-person or over the phone consultation. We can be reached at 763-421-8226.