The Difference Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor
If you’re injured at work, you may expect to receive workers’ compensation benefits. After all, California law requires all businesses with at least one employee to offer workers’ compensation benefits to their employees. When an injury or illness occurs at work, these benefits are supposed to kick in to help sick or injured workers get back on their feet. Unfortunately, if you are classified as an independent contractor, you will not receive these benefits.
According to a 2016 study, almost 8.4% of the American workforce falls under independent contractor status. That’s roughly 12.5 million workers across the United States! Independent contractors are located in virtually every industry and sector, including construction, trucking, warehouses, industrial, retail, and home care. From hairdressers to software coders, independent contractors offer businesses and workers both flexibility and freedom. Unfortunately, many businesses routinely try to classify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying insurance and workers compensation benefits.
Injured on the Job? You Deserve Compensation
However, last April, a California Supreme Court decision made it more difficult for employers to classify workers as independent contractors – a move that has both benefits and disadvantages for many. According to the new law, a worker is to be considered an employee in California if the following three criteria are met:
- Their job is essential to the company’s core business
- The employer exercises any form of control over worker’s ability to perform tasks
- Worker doesn’t have an established trade of business they routinely engage in
No matter how you are classified, if you are injured on the job, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. If you’re classified as an employee, you will be able to receive money to pay for medical care, temporary or permanent disability, job displacement costs, and even death benefits for eligible family members.
If you’re an independent contractor and suffered a work injury, you may still be eligible to receive compensation. Your attorney should file an adjudication of claim suit on your behalf to have a judge review your case. Employers routinely misclassify workers as independent contractors, so don’t assume you’re not able to receive benefits if you suffer an accident on the job. Even if you’re a contractor, however, you may be able to collect money for your injury by filing a lawsuit and proving negligence.
Winning a lawsuit against your employer isn’t easy and will require extensive investigation and an experienced law firm on your side. If your employer’s negligence led to your injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit in order to collect the money you need to pay for your disabilities, lost wages, and medical expenses. Unlike workers’ compensation benefits, however, a personal injury lawsuit would also allow you to sue for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
Contact Our Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today
If you’ve been injured on the job, you need an experienced and skilled Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer on your side from the start. Collecting the benefits you are entitled to isn’t always easy. Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer Donald S. Fair has been representing injured workers in San Bernardino County for nearly 30 years. He has the experienced needed to tackle complex work injury cases that involve long-term or permanent disability. Call (909) 344-3011 today for a free initial consultation and evaluation or fill out our confidential contact form.