Independent contractors often find their worker’s compensation claims denied on the basis that they are not employees. However, just because your employer has classified you as an independent contractor does not mean you are not eligible for workers’ compensation.
Some employers misclassify workers as independent contractors so they can reduce payroll costs. If your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor when you should have been classified as an employee, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation for an injury suffered on the job.
What is the difference between an independent contractor and an employee?
Under Georgia law, we look at a number of factors to determine whether an employee should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee under workers’ compensation. The factors evaluate the degree of control the employer had over the services the worker performs. The more control your employer has over the work you do, the more likely it is you should be classified as an employee. The differences between an independent contractor and an employee are subtle, and only an experienced attorney can tell you if your employer may have misclassified you.
A 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office estimated that more than three million workers in the United States were classified as independent contractors when they should have been employees.
Some of the factors we look at to determine if you should be classified as an employee, rather than an independent contractor, are:
- Whether there is a written or verbal contract between you and the employer defining the relationship
- Whether you are free to seek and perform work elsewhere, while still performing work for the employer
- Whether you control how the work you perform for the employer is done
- Whether the employer withholds taxes from your earnings
- Whether you provide your own tools and equipment for the job
- Whether there is a finite end date for your work with the employer
Seeking workers’ compensation benefits for misclassified workers
At Skibiel Law, we represented a bus driver who sustained serious injuries to his neck, knees and ankle due to a work accident. His employer denied his claim for workers’ compensation benefits since he was classified as an independent contractor. Our law firm filed a lawsuit against the employer requesting payment of all medical care and weekly income benefits. Among other issues, we sought to show through evidence that the worker should have been classified as an employee. The employer agreed to pay our client’s past medical bills, plus $164,981 for other losses, including future medical expenses. You can read more about this and other case results here.
If your employer has denied your workers’ compensation claim for any reason, we offer a free initial consultation to review your case.