There is an independent contractor problem facing the Workers’ Compensation system in North Carolina today. What’s the problem? Simply put, independent contractors aren’t eligible for Workers’ Compensation coverage under North Carolina law (and pretty much across the country, for that matter).
What does that mean for an independent contractor? It means that you will not be able to receive benefits if you get hurt on the job. All of your bills and medical expenses, lost wages, and pain-and-suffering, will be paid for by you. You’re on your own.
Now here’s the problem:
Just to make sure that workers aren’t covered by Worker’s Compensation, some full-time employees receive an independent contractor categorization from their employers. They’re putting in the same hours, doing the same work as traditional employees, but they’re not receiving the same coverage due to corporate machinations. This is blatant misclassification!
Is that even legal?
What Can You Do?
If the above sounds like a situation you’ve found yourself in, do you have to take it lying down? If, based on that “independent contractor” label your employer stuck you with and they are not paying you Workers’ Compensation after you’ve been injured on the job, it’s time to call in the big guns. You’re going to need an experienced, knowledgeable attorney specializing in Workers’ Compensation and personal injury cases. Anything less, and your rights may not be adequately represented.
Your Workers’ Compensation attorney can help you argue the independent contractor classification. They can assist you in a personal injury claim to be filed against the party that played an integral part in your injury/accident. They can assist in demonstrating that you are a full-time employee and meet all the requirements of such.
Independent Contractors and Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you are self-employed, or are an independent contractor, you are not required to purchase Workers’ Compensation coverage according to state law (certain states may have varied requirements, stipulations, etc.). In some cases, however, when drawing up a contract, the person doing the hiring of an independent contractor may insist that they have Workers’ Compensation. This will help protect the hiring party from being sued by the independent contractor or their workers should an accident occur on the job.
If, as a stipulation in a contract, you, as an independent contractor, are required to have Workers’ Compensation insurance, applications for such are quickly and easily obtainable online.
If you’re thinking that your health insurance will cover any work-related injuries, think again. Injuries and illnesses related to work may not be covered by your health insurance policy! They are excluded by many health insurance providers. Should you become injured or ill as a direct result of your job, independent contractor Workers’ Comp Insurance will replace lost wages while you recover, cover your medical bills, etc.
Are you a full-time employee of a company that lists you as an “independent contractor”? Have you ever wondered why they do so? If you suddenly become ill or injured as a direct result of your job, you will not be covered under Workers’ Compensation. If that happens before you can discuss a change of status with your employer, contact us at Cardinal Law Partner. We can help you prove your actual employment status with the company and protect your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.