Can Independent Contractors File for Workers’ Compensation?

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In 2019, over 78,000 nonfatal workplace injuries took place in Georgia businesses. The average cost of a workers’ compensation claim is approximately $40,000.

Because of our mobile and independent population, approximately 14% of the U.S. population said that being an independent contractor was their primary job.

So the real question is, do independent contractors get workers’ compensation? Read on to find the answer.

Difference Between an Independent Contractor and an Employee

It is best to begin with a definition of the difference between an employee & an independent contractor. From a legal perspective, employment and labor laws apply to employees, not independent contractors.

For employees, the company controls what an employee does on the job, and how they do it. Typically, employees are provided with the tools and supplies needed to perform their jobs, where an independent contractor provides their own supplies.

Employees receive benefits such as pensions, 401K insurance, and vacation/sick pay; independent contractors do not.

From a tax perspective, if your employer issues you 1099 at tax time, they classified you as an independent contractor. If your employer issues you a W-2, they classified you as an employee.

It is important to note that when it comes to workers’ compensation, the difference between whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee is to be determined by a judge on a case by case basis.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is designed to protect both the employer and the employee from expense associated with injuries obtained while on the job. It is an insurance policy paid by employers, typically to a state agency. Injuries associated with, or happening on the job, are then submitted to the agency for payment.

Workers’ compensation provides support to injured workers in the form of payment for medical bills, lost wages, and even death. Workers’ compensation laws also protect injured workers’ jobs/positions as they heal. In return, workers’ compensation protects businesses from the devastating damages that may arise from injured workers.

Common workers’ compensation injuries can come from falls, faulty equipment, or faulty safety equipment. They can also come from repetitive stress injuries. The most commonly injured area is the back, while the most common cause of injury is from motor vehicle accidents.  

Do Independent Contractors get Workers’ Compensation?

The majority of the time the answer is no, they are not eligible for workers’ compensation if injured on the job. Independent contractors, therefore, should carry their own personal injury insurance policies.

If you are injured on the job, you should discuss your case with a qualified attorney before signing anything. In some cases, independent contractors may be eligible for workers’ compensation or other compensation.

Have You Been Injured on the Job?

If you have, you need to speak to a qualified attorney who understands the specific workers’ compensation laws in your state. Only they can answer the question, “Do independent contractors get workers’ compensation?”.

Contact us, our qualified team of workers’ comp lawyers will sit with you for a free consultation to review the specifics of your case. Only after they have a complete understanding can they ensure that you are receiving the fullest protection of the law.

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