What is an Independent Contractor for Workers’ Comp?

December 15, 2014

What is an Independent Contractor for Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania?


Workers Compensation and Independent ContractorsIf you are an independent contractor as opposed to employee, you will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits from the company for which you are a contractor. It is not uncommon for unethical employers to try to avoid numerous expenses by claiming that their workers are independent contractors as opposed to employees. So if you are uncertain whether you are an employee or an independent contractor and you have been injured at work or a job site, you should speak to Lowenthal & Abrams’ workers’ compensation lawyers. We will help you determine whether you have a right to a workers’ compensation claim through your alleged employer.

Independent Contractor Defined

There are a number of questions that must be asked to determine whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee for purposes of workers’ compensation claims in Pennsylvania. One major issue is whether the “employer had the right to control the claimant’s activities.” The legal terminology is whether there is a “master and servant relationship” between the alleged employer and employee. In determining whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor, case law looks at a number of factors, including:

  • Control of the manner in which work is to be done
  • Amount of responsibility
  • Terms of agreement between the parties
  • Nature of the work or occupation
  • Skill level required for the work
  • Whether the claimant is engaged in a separate occupation or business
  • Who supplies the tools
  • Whether payment is by the time or by the job
  • Whether work is part of the regular business of the alleged employer
  • Whether the alleged employer can terminate employment at any time

No one of these factors will make up the judge’s mind, but rather she will look at a mix of the facts in your situation and make a decision. Your attorney will help you make the best case possible to get your your benefits.

What Can an Independent Contractor Do to Protect Himself?

If you work for yourself, you should consider purchasing workers’ compensation insurance. That way, if you are injured on the job, you can pursue a claim against your own policy. If you do have your own policy, you should retain an attorney to help you file your claim. The insurance company is not likely to be any more helpful to you than it would be to any claimant who has been injured at work.

Can a Hurt Independent Contractor Sue?

If you are an independent contractor and are injured due to the negligence of the business for which you are working, you might have a personal injury suit. In addition, if you are injured due to the negligence of a third party, such as a car accident while you are on your way to a work site, you might have an auto accident claim against the person who hurt you. The best way to determine if you have a potential lawsuit, is to contact a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer from Lowenthal & Abrams.




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