To avoid paying workers’ comp benefits employers will try to insist that an employee was really an independent contractor.
Workers’ compensation is the type of insurance that an employer has to take out to ensure that if their employee is injured while on the job, the employer has the assets to cover any damages or injuries. In Missouri, companies with two or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In return, the employee is not allowed to sue the employer if they are injured while on the job. Sometimes it’s a big tradeoff, because workers’ compensation, unlike personal injury compensation, does not typically allow for non-economic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress.
If you are a worker who is injured and you are not covered by workers’ compensation, then it is possible for you to sue your employer if your injury was sustained while performing work-related activities. As long as you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, then you can sue your employer in a personal injury lawsuit.
However, not all workers are eligible or covered by workers’ compensation insurance. It depends on what kind of company you work for and what type of employee you are. For instance, if you are an independent contractor, then most likely you aren’t covered by workers’ compensation insurance. In addition, if you are a volunteer, then technically you are not an employee, and you wouldn’t be covered or eligible. Other employees who are typically not eligible are freelance workers and consultants who are not hired in-house but are essentially independent contractors.
Sometimes to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits employers will try to insist that an employee wasn’t really an employee, but rather an independent contractor. There are times when contracts show that someone is an independent contractor and other instances when it is a verbal agreement. When it is a verbal agreement, it becomes the employer’s word against the employee, which is why hiring a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer might be necessary.
If your employer is denying you coverage because they insist you are an independent contractor, but you made no such agreement, your lawyer might be able to use:
- IRS statements that show what your earnings are, including things like 401K contributions or other benefits that would indicate that you were likely an employee.
- Length of employment. Since independent contractors typically work for a short length of time, if you have been with a company for a long time, claiming independent contractor status will be much harder for your employer.
- Whether you went to job training. Typically independent contractors do not attend training. If you can prove that you were trained by a company, then that might help to further your case that you were an employee.
Understand Your Legal Rights
When you are injured on the job, your employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. One way to deny you coverage might be to claim that you were an independent contractor. If you don’t believe you were, then it is a good idea to have a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer help you to prove that you were an employee and are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
For more than 20 years, the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann has been helping victims of work-related injuries receive the benefits they and their families need to move forward. We will help you, regardless of where you are in the process of case or claim. Call us today at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online case evaluation form to request a FREE consultation.