Do Independent Contractors Qualify for Workers’ Compensation? 5 Unique Differences With Employees

January 3, 2024

Do Independent Contractors Qualify for Workers’ Compensation? 5 Unique Differences With Employees

Independent contractors, like yard workers, can suffer injuries on the job

Independent contractors are classified as a special type of worker.

According to the IRS, independent contractors are generally defined by whether or not the “payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done”.

Simply put, independent contractors are hired to work for a company as a non-employee

Independent contractors and employees have different sets of rules when it comes to employment.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Independent contractors are not covered by labor laws.
  • Tax documents will vary, like a 1099 vs a W-2
  • Independent contractors do not report for state and federal unemployment insurance
  • Employees are paid on a salary or hourly rate, while independent contractors are generally paid a large sum when their work is complete.
  • An employee is paid regularly on a weekly or monthly basis, while contractors must submit an invoice for their payment.

There are a number jobs independent contractors may work, such as:

  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer
  • House/Office Cleaner
  • Landscape/Yard Work
  • Realtor
  • Blogger
  • Roofer

This isn’t to say all of these jobs are exclusively independent contractors. For example, a company can hire a full-time videographer as an employee to shoot videos for their social media

A detractor of non-employees is that companies and businesses are not required to provide health insurance benefits for independent contractors. 

Furthermore, an independent contractor who is injured on the job does not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits from the company or person who hired them. 

Workers’ compensation is available for employees who suffer an injury or illness on the job while performing a job related task. 

Independent contractors are not employees, despite being hired by the company. Thus, they do not qualify for the same benefits as an employee, including workers’ compensation.

Independent contractors like photographers probably will not qualify for workers' compensation

According to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, California has a test to help determine whether or not a hire is an independent contractor.  Known as the ABC test, a worker is an employee unless they don’t meet all three of the following conditions:

  • The worker is clear of any “control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work…”
  • The worker “performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business”
  • The worker is “customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed”.

If you are an independent contractor, having your own liability insurance can help in the event of a work-related injury.

If you are injured on the job, it’s important to know your employment status before filing a claim.

However, it’s not uncommon for California employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors when they are actually full-time employees.

California Labor Code 226.8 LC states that it is unlawful for an employer to knowingly misclassify their employees. 

Additionally, even without workers’ comp, you still may have a personal injury case. 

Think of a situation where Janet, an independent housecleaner, falls down a flight of stairs while working due to a damaged handrail. Janet breaks her arm on the fall and is unable to work for an extended period of time.

Since Janet was hired, most likely by the homeowner, as an independent contractor, she will not qualify for workers’ compensation. However, there is a potential personal injury claim due to the homeowner’s negligence.

The homeowner has a duty of care to provide safety. Failure to fix a handrail, especially if the homeowner was warned, can be the basis of a claim. 

If you are an independent contractor injured on the job, it’s best to explore all of your options. The LA injury attorneys at C&B Law Group are prepared to help you following a serious injury.

There are a number of injuries contractors can suffer on the job, including:

  • Broken Bones
  • Neck Injuries
  • Cuts or Lacerations
  • Head Injuries
  • Back Injuries
  • Contusions
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Loss of Limbs
  • Hand injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Wrongful death

Don’t hesitate to contact C&B Law Group today about a free consultation for workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim!

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