Independent Contractors vs. Employees: Who is Covered Under Workers’ Comp?

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.

Employee Independent Contractor
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.