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Do independent contractors qualify for workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2018 | Firm News

An increasing number of Americans have become independent contractors. One recent poll found that approximately one out of every five American workers engage in contract work. 

Although there are advantages to this line of work, it does have its downfalls. For instance, independent contractors do not qualify for workers’ compensation if they sustain injuries while in the line of duty. However, if you suffer an injury during the course of employment, then you may be able to qualify for benefits even if your employer considers you a freelancer.

The court looks at several factors

Some employers like classifying certain workers as freelancers for tax benefits. There are plenty of cases where an employer may have classified a worker as an independent contractor, but the scope of employment actually suggests that the worker should be an employee in the eyes of the law. 

For example, employees typically need to maintain regular shifts and work during time periods designated by the employer. An independent contractor who needs to be at an office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. would likely have the designation as an employee from a judge. Additionally, an employer will not withhold taxes for freelancers.

It is possible for freelancers to receive workers’ comp following an injury

If workers feel as though they should technically be employees, then it is possible to go to court to fight for workers’ comp. The Georgia Court of Appeals saw one such case in Golash v. Cherokee Cab Co. In this case, a company designated a cab driver as an independent contractor rather than an employee. When the worker sustained injuries during the course of employment, the court decided the driver should receive workers’ comp. The court reached this decision because the employer decided when the employee arrived at work. Additionally, the employer had a right to terminate the driver’s employment if any directives were disregarded.