Do Independent Contractors Qualify For Workers’ Comp?

Independent Contractors

Employees qualify for workers compensation benefits, not independent contractors. If you’ve been hired as an independent contractor to perform work in Council Bluffs and are injured in the course of that work you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries one way or another. Misclassification of employees as independent contractors has become a popular tool for many businesses to cut costs while increasing costs to their work force.

“The misclassification of workers as ‘independent contractors’ rather than ‘employees’ is a growing problem in Iowa and across the nation. The misclassification of workers threatens Iowa’s economy, its businesses and its workers – which are the most important resource we have,” according to the State of Iowa.

You’ve Been Told You’re Not an Employee But Under the Law You May Actually Be One

How do you know if you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor? There’s no specific, “hard and fast” rule or test. It generally boils down to whether the company had sufficient actual or potential control over how you did the job. The more control, the more it would appear you’re an employee. Some factors include whether there’s a contract for a specific job for a specific price, whether you can hire and supervisor your own assistants, if you need to supply your own tools and if the work is in your regular line of business but not part of the employer’s regular business.

When an employer intentionally misclassifies someone, who under the facts and law, is an employee it violates any number of laws. This can be to avoid unemployment compensation taxes, wage and hour laws, Social Security taxes, avoid paying for workers compensation coverage and side step living up to anti-discrimination laws. The company may have lower costs which can be a competitive advantage when competing for clients and customers.

What You Can Do If You’re an Injured Employee but There’s No Workers Compensation Coverage

If a person misclassified as an independent contractor is injured in the course of and arising out of his or her employment but there’s no workers compensation coverage by the employer the worker can file a personal injury action in state court. The person can seek damages or compensation required by workers compensation statutes.

For these cases Iowa turns the tables on the employer. While in most personal injury cases the burden of proof would be on the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit, in this case the worker) in these cases it would be up to the defendant/employer to disprove the injury wasn’t the result of its negligence and that negligence was the factual and legal cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiff has the option of having the facts decided by a jury or a judge.

If after all the facts and law are considered and you are actually an independent contractor and not misclassified, if the party hiring you committed negligence and harmed you, it could be sued in a personal injury action, though you would have to carry the burden of proof in this legal action.

Contacting a Lawyer

The Telpner Peterson Law Firm, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, represents employees who have suffered workplace injuries in Iowa or Nebraska. Our principle workers compensation attorney, Walter Thomas, stands up for you so that you get the maximum benefits under law.

To discuss your case, learn the potential compensation from your claim, and learn the options to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, schedule a complimentary consultation with our Council Bluffs office. Simply call (712) 325-9000 or contact Telpner Peterson Law Firm online.

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