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Facts about workers’ compensation and independent contractors

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

Rhode Island workers who are injured or suffer an illness due to their work are advised to act quickly in seeking workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp can be essential to them getting the treatment they need to try and recover and receive part of their wages to make ends meet.

A common dispute that might arise for a worker who was injured is if the employer or workers’ compensation insurer asserts that the worker was an independent contractor and the worker says otherwise. Misclassification of workers is a common problem with negative consequences. Knowing the law for independent contractors and how to address these issues can be the difference in getting approved for benefits.

Key points about independent contractors and workers’ compensation

Independent contractors are defined as such when they file a notice of designation with the state. This will be a presumption that they are categorized as an independent contractor. Still, it does not prevent a court from finding that they are independent contractors even if they have not filed the notice.

When there is a workers’ compensation claim for a person who died, the court can vacate that notice if it was procured improperly. In simpler terms, the designation must be done according to the law and with the agreement of the independent contractor by filing the notice or it can be called into question.

For people who are unsure if they are independent contractors or an employee, it is imperative to know certain facts and the answers to basic questions. The way the person works is a window into their status. Independent contractors generally make their own hours, provide their own equipment and work when they decide to work. They must also pay their own taxes to the state and the federal governments.

This is crucial to know because independent contractors are not automatically eligible to get workers’ compensation benefits. If they are injured and unable to work, they are subsequently on their own. Employers might try to misrepresent an employee as an independent contractor. This level of misclassification can happen for many reasons and it is not necessarily to avoid workers’ compensation, though that can be an aftereffect.

Those who claim they were employees should have help with a workers’ comp claim

The lack of clarity as to whether a worker was an actual employee or an independent contractor can be problematic when there is an on-the-job injury or condition. If the worker believed they were employees and there is a dispute about their status, it is important to have professional assistance to sift through the details of the case and find a solution.

Often, this was an attempt by the employer to navigate their way around classifying the person properly. Those who were employees and need workers’ compensation benefits should know how to go about getting them. To help with this complicated issue, it is imperative to have guidance from professionals who are experienced, caring and have deep ties to the community. Workers deserve to be protected and skilled assistance can be key to a successful outcome and workers’ compensation benefits being approved if it is warranted.