If you’re an independent contractor and you’ve been injured on the job, don’t just assume you do not have a right for compensation.
Workers Compensation is an insurance system put in place to provide employees with benefits if they get injured on the job. However, freelance employees generally do not benefit from workers compensation.
In the United States, freelancers, independent contractors, or sole proprietors are automatically classified as self-employed individuals, and not employees. These individuals also generally receive a 1099 form at the end of each tax year. So, if you have to file this form, it means you are considered a self-employed worker.
However, just because you are an independent contractor does not mean you are not able to receive any form of compensation in case of a work-related injury.
Compensation for Independent Contractors
Employers sometimes prefer to work with freelancers instead of hiring employees. It is less expensive for them to do so than to hire full-time workers. However, if a freelancer is injured as a result of their job activities for a company, they can hire a St. Louis personal injury attorney and either sue the company or resolve the issues in arbitration. A lawyer can help you understand how much compensation you can ask for based on the severity of your injuries and subsequent medical costs.
Moreover, independent contractors also have the option of paying for worker’s compensation insurance themselves, if they believe the cost is worth it. Especially if you are working in dangerous environments, such as construction sites, it may be a smart move to pay a worker’s compensation premium and protect yourself. It may also be beneficial for your rehabilitation if your injuries are severe, and you need a long recovery period.
In some cases, a company who wants to sign a contract with a freelancer will add a specific condition regarding workers compensation. Some companies are liable for any person working for them, no matter if they’re an employee or freelancer, so they’ll require any individual they collaborate with to have workers compensation insurance.
Is It a Misclassification?
Before you proceed in any legal matter, it’s worth checking if your independent contractor status is simply a misclassification. If this is true, you’ll have to prove the terms of employment make you an employee eligible for workers compensation benefits.
That can be a tricky situation, as there is no clear line that states where the employer title ends and the freelancer begins. Your St. Louis work injury lawyer can try to argue this on your behalf, but if the company does not agree with the classification amicably, then the matter if left for the courts.
In this case, the courts will review various factors to determine your employment status:
- Permanency of relationship
- The degree of freelance or independent’ activities
- How vital the activities are for the business
Contact a St Louis Work Injury Attorney
If you’re an independent contractor and you’ve been injured on the job, don’t just assume you do not have a right for compensation. Contact an experienced St. Louis work injury lawyer to see what your options are.
For over 20 years, the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann has been helping injured workers receive the compensation they need and deserve. We can help answer your questions concerning your work injury. Call us today at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online case evaluation form to request a free consultation.