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Are Independent Contractors Entitled To Workers Compensation?

The gig economy in the US has been in full swing in the past five years, with Statista recording 57.3 million freelancers in the US in 2020. Many workers shifted to working as independent contractors because of the independence that comes with it, meanwhile, companies benefit from reduced responsibilities. If an independent contractor is injured on a job site, who will cover their medical bills and lost wages as they recover?

Are You An Independent Contractor?

An independent contractor is someone who is hired on an on-demand basis, and technically is not an employee of the company. The independent contractor may be a freelancer or may run their own business, and thus, has control over how they accomplish a job. Examples of common independent contractors are repairpersons, Uber drivers, accountants, and construction workers.

Since independent contractors are not hired as regular employees, they don’t receive the same benefits, such as healthcare benefits and worker’s compensation.

What Is Workers Compensation? Is It Important?

Worker’s compensation is a type of insurance companies are required to carry to cover their employees’ medical bills and lost wages if they get injured at work. Employees get these benefits to help them recover regardless of who is at fault for their injury. They will usually continue to get the said benefits until they are able to return to work or, if that is no longer possible, for a longer period, depending on the agreement.

This is an important benefit for workers, especially those working in dangerous fields like transportation and construction. However, not all are entitled to these benefits. Independent contractors in Sarasota, Florida are not entitled to Worker’s Compensation from companies or entities that hire them. They are required to carry Worker’s Compensation on their own. Despite this unfavorable situation for independent contractors, may be entitled to worker’s comp depending on their situation.

What To Do If You Are Injured On The Job

If you have worker’s compensation as an independent contractor, then that should cover your medical bills and lost wages. However, if you don’t have any, here are two things you should consider:

Some companies willfully misclassify employees as independent contractors to save on benefits. So, the first thing you should do if you get injured—in fact, you can do this even before becoming injured—is to check if you are being misclassified. It’s best to consult a worker’s compensation attorney. Then, you should speak with your employer and have yourself be reclassified. If the employer refuses to reclassify you, you can take legal action by filing a claim with the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

If you are an independent contractor in Florida without worker’s compensation, you may still be able to pursue compensation from your employer, but this move depends on your situation and is often the last resort.

If you were injured in a job as an independent contractor, consult immediately with a Florida workers comp lawyer to help you plan the appropriate actions.

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