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Is an Independent Contractor Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Is an Independent Contractor Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

With the gig economy in full swing, many workers are moonlighting – or even working full-time hours – as independent contractors.

From driving for Doordash and Uber to working as independent home healthcare workers, independent contractors run just as much risk of getting injured or sick while they work. Whether you’re injured in a car accident, a fall at a client’s home, or get ill as the result of your working conditions, you may wonder if you’re entitled to workers’ compensation coverage.

Unfortunately, independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage.

In some cases, employers misclassify – either purposely or unknowingly – employees as independent contractors. But how do you know whether your working situation is considered independent contracting or as an official employee? 

Here are 4 signs you may be an official employee instead of an independent contractor:

Lack of Direction & Control

If you’re an independent contractor, you get to control how you provide whatever service it is that you offer. This may mean that you choose your own working hours, your own working condition, and how you go about performing the tasks you’re asked to, and the employer doesn’t control these conditions.

However, employees are subject to a variety of controls handed down from their employers, including set working hours, the requirement to show up at a specific building, and rules on how they perform the essential tasks of their work.

Hiring & Pay

While this is not a clear-cut situation, most contractors receive payment per job or per task completed. If you build a shelf for a business owner, for example, you get paid the price you quote to build the shelf in its entirety, not for each hour you spend building it.

Most employees, on the other hand, are paid hourly or on a salaried basis. They are paid for the time they spend working, not necessarily their specific work product output.

Equipment Provided

As an independent contractor, you typically provide all your own equipment. Clothing, tools, vehicles, and other essential items are owned or rented by you, and your fee usually reflects the use of this equipment.

If you’re an employee, your employer is responsible for providing you with necessary equipment, and for maintaining that equipment. You may need to pay for things such as uniforms, but if it’s an essential tool for your job (an air compressor for a car mechanic, for example), it should be provided by your employer, or you receive compensation for use of your equipment in some way.

Character of the Work & Training

If you are trained by and receive regular work from the same company, you are more likely to be considered an employee. This can include both highly skilled and unskilled labor, and may include a variety of job types and tasks.

Those who provide one very specific job and who perform highly skilled work may be considered independent contractors. If you work for a variety of different companies, even if you perform the same task at each company, you are likely considered a contractor.

A Final Word on Employees vs. Independent Contractors

No single condition in this list makes it a guarantee that you are considered an official employee instead of an independent contractor. A court will take all factors of your employment into consideration when making the determination, and you may be eligible for workers’ compensation as a result of that determination.

If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, even if you think you are an independent contractor, it is important to consult with an attorney to get an explanation of your rights.

Attorney for Workers’ Compensation Cases in Washington, D.C.

If you’ve been injured at work, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries or illness. The team at Lopez Law Firm has years of experience helping clients in Washington, D.C., receive satisfactory results from their workers’ compensation cases. Call today for a consultation!

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