May 26, 2017

Can an Independent Contractor Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

While there are many employees who are covered by
workers’ compensation laws in Georgia, there are also a great many who are not due to nuances
in legal requirements imposed on employers. Furthermore, any worker who
is technically considered an independent contractor will not be automatically
eligible for workers’ compensation coverage and benefits. Any employer
that does choose to provide workers’ compensation coverage to an
independent contractor is simply providing a professional courtesy, not
meeting a legal necessity.

Independent contractors are distinguished from employees due to:

  • Lack of direct oversight: An employee will either be under the constant supervision of a higher-up
    or be provided directions on how to complete a job to company standards.
    Independent contractors are often allowed to complete a task using their
    own methods and rarely have any oversight from the company that handed
    them the contract.
  • No hiring formalities: It is unusual for an independent contractor to go through a formal hiring
    process, including interviews. Most companies that recruit independent
    contractors look for licenses and certifications before sending that contractor
    out for a job without ever meeting them.
  • Equipment ownership: Employers will give employees certain pieces of equipment to complete a
    job task, whether that be a safety harness, a particular type of ladder,
    a computer in an office, and so on. Independent contractors are generally
    expected to provide their own tools and equipment whenever handling a contract.
  • Potential competition: Independent contractors are usually not bound by non-compete and non-solicitation
    agreements, allowing them to perform work for all sorts of companies in
    a region. This means a contractor could work for one company in the morning
    and a direct competitor that night.

All of these distinctions and more are considered whenever the State Board
of Workers’ Compensation needs to decide if someone is truly an
employee, or if he or she should actually be considered an independent
contract for all legal purposes.

Workers Wrongly Categorized as Independent Contractors

It is important to be aware that some employers may intentionally or inadvertently
label an employee as an independent contractor. This mistake, whether
it is deliberate or not, can strip an employee of his or her right to
workers’ compensation coverage. Oftentimes, only legal intervention
with the help of a professional Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer
can set things right in the event an “independent contractor”
gets injured while on-the-job.

Hansford McDaniel – Workers’ Compensation Attorneys and our Atlanta workers’
compensation lawyers are renowned throughout Georgia for standing up for
the rights of injured workers and those who have been mislabeled as independent
contractors. If you would like to know about our services, you can review
some of our recent
case results, browse appreciative
client testimonials, or
contact us directly to set up a free case evaluation.
Our team looks forward to hearing from you.