Are You an Employee or an Independent Contractor? Why it Matters for Workers’ Compensation

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New Jersey law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for employees in case they are injured on the job. However, companies are not required to provide such coverage for independent contractors that they hire to perform work. When an independent contractor is injured on a worksite, they will be responsible for paying for their own medical treatment and will not be eligible for wage replacement if they have to take time away from work. For this reason, independent contractors can face serious financial losses if they are injured at work.

In some cases, the difference between an employee and an independent contractor is clear and there is no question about a particular worker’s classification. In other situations, however, you may not be certain what your status should be. Companies have attempted to save money and other resources by wrongfully classifying employees as independent contractors. By doing so, a company can avoid providing workers’ comp, paying for unemployment insurance, paying payroll taxes, and complying with wage, hour, and other employment laws. People who are misclassified as independent contractors can lose out on important rights and benefits.

If you are injured on the job and your company claims you are an independent contractor, it is important to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer review your case. Our attorneys know how to identify whether you have been misclassified and some factors we will consider include the following:

  • The amount of control the company has over you—The more direction and control a company has over you, the more likely it is that you should be classified as an employee. Independent contractors often have the liberty to make their own hours and control how their work is performed while employees generally must follow the instructions and guidelines of the company.
  • How you are paid for your work—If you receive regular paychecks—either hourly or salary—no matter what work you perform, you are likely an employee. Independent contractors are typically paid per job or on a retainer system.
  • Who provides training and equipment—If a company trains you, provides tools and equipment, and other resources for your to use during work, it is likely that you should be considered an employee. Independent contractors often provide their own tools and seek training and skills on their own.
  • Nature of the work—Employees tend to do regular work for a company and may perform a variety of job duties based on what is needed. On the other hand, independent contractors generally perform one specific, highly-skilled job and may perform that same job for many different companies.

Contact a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Help

If you have been injured at work, many complications can arise if your employer has wrongfully classified you as an independent contractor. In such a situation, it is essential to have an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer representing your rights so that you are not wrongfully denied the benefits you deserve. Anyone who has sustained a workplace injury should feel free to call the Wilton Law Firm at 732-275-9555 to discuss their situation today.

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