When it comes to employee benefits, it is important to understand the difference between an employee and a contractor. Employees are entitled to employer benefits, such as workers’ comp benefits, whereas contractors are not. To determine whether or not you are a contractor or an employee, the following table can provide much needed insight.
|Works for one employer||Can have multiple clients|
|Has a set work schedule||Schedules his or her own hours|
|Works at employer's business||Can usually work at company location or at home|
|Works under a manager||Works independently|
|Performs assigned tasks||Accomplishes a set goal|
|Receives employer benefits||Receives no employer benefits|
|Does not incur work expenses||Incurs the expenses of performing the project or job|
|General education with employer training||Has a specialized set of skills and specific education|
|Receives a net salary after taxes||Is not subject to FICA tax withholding|
|Is entitled to unemployment insurance||Is not entitled to unemployment insurance|
|Must be terminated for good cause||Can be terminated for any reason|
|Is protected by state and/or federal hourly wage laws||Is paid according to the terms of the contract|
|Is entitled to join a union||Is not entitled to join a union|
By reviewing the above differences between employees and contractors, one can more easily understand which group he or she falls into. If you are an employee of your employer, you are likely entitled to workers’ comp benefits. If, on the other hand, you are a contractor, no such protection is extended.
How to Get Help with a Workers’ Comp Claim
If you are an employee of a company and you have suffered a work-related injury that warrants workers’ comp benefits, you may want to obtain help before filing a workers’ comp claim. An attorney who specializes in workers’ comp law can help you file your claim properly and will help ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to. Your employer and the workers’ comp insurance company will also likely take note that a lawyer is involved and will not try to “lowball” you or try to cut you short on your workers’ comp benefits, such as refusing to offer all of your lost wages or cover all of your medical bills. A workers’ comp attorney is your best chance of getting the best settlement possible.
If you have already filed a workers’ comp claim and have been denied benefits or your employer has delayed your benefits, now would also be a good time to get an attorney involved. Workers’ comp insurance claims are routinely rejected by employers and insurance companies. In fact, up to 80 percent of workers who are hurt on the job simply accept a denial of their workers’ comp claim without an appeal. When you hire an attorney, he or she can work to overturn the denial and help you obtain the benefits you are entitled to.
The good news is that hiring a workers’ comp attorney does not have to cost you any money out of your own pocket up front. Many of these attorneys work on a contingency basis, collecting only if you win your case. Instead of paying these attorneys by the hour, they collect a percentage of your settlement as payment for their services. This means the financial situation your injury may have put you in does not have to get in the way of receiving the legal representation you need for a successful workers’ comp claim.