When you get a new job or gig, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your worker classification. True, when you work as an independent contractor on behalf of a large company, you’re initially told that you’re not eligible to participate in certain programs and that you’re ineligible for certain benefits, which can be frustrating. However, over time, most workers spend far more time thinking about the job at hand, their rate of pay, their boss’s expectations, and what lies ahead than they do about the ways in which they’re classified in the workplace. That is, unless they get injured. Because when workers get injured, the subject of classification becomes urgently important and consequential.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors – Classification Matters
Generally speaking, independent contractors aren’t eligible for certain benefits extended to employees. Benefits extended to full-time and part-time employees that aren’t extended to independent contractors include workers’ compensation benefits. As a result, when workers get injured, their ability or inability to file a workers’ compensation benefits claim rests on their classification status. Independent contractors are generally advised to pursue a personal injury claim if they’re hoping to receive compensation for the harm they’ve suffered while on the job, as they can’t file a relatively straightforward workers’ compensation claim like employees can.
With that said, employers sometimes intentionally or unintentionally misclassify independent contractors who should rightfully be extended employee benefits. Unintentional misclassification can be remedied with the assistance of an attorney. Intentional misclassification may give independent contractors grounds to sue their employers not only for the right to receive benefits but also for “damages” related to that intentional misclassification. Intentionally classifying employees as independent contractors in an effort to save money is unlawful.
If you’re unsure of whether you should be rightfully classified as an employee, instead of an independent contractor, don’t hesitate to contact our firm for assistance. Our team has extensive experience assisting both independent contractors and employees with their work-related injury issues and we have the tools to accurately assess whether you should be extended the opportunity to file a workers’ compensation claim or not. If you’re unsure of whether you’re currently classified as an independent contractor or not, take a look at a recent pay stub. Did the company you’re providing services for withhold taxes on your behalf? If not, you’re currently (whether rightfully or wrongfully) classified as an independent contractor.
Legal Assistance Is Available
No matter how you’re classified, you likely have legal options available to you in the event that you’re injured on the job. Please schedule a confidential, risk-free consultation with a law firm today to explore your options. Once you’ve made whatever informed choice makes most sense for you and your family at this time, a work injury lawyer, like from Hickey & Turim, P.C., can help you exercise your rights and move forward. Contact a law firm today.