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Can Independent Contractors File for Workers' Comp?


California employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to all employees, with the exception of workers who are classified as independent contractors. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), an independent contractor is a self-employed specialist or individual who provides services to the general public, such as doctor, dentist, lawyer, contractor, or subcontractor. Unfortunately, many employers attempt to misclassify their employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying payroll taxes and workers’ comp premiums for them, or even go as far as to deny that a worker is an employee in the event that they should be injured.

Am I an Employee or Independent Contractor?

Generally speaking, a worker can only be classified as an independent contractor if:

  1. They are not controlled: Independent contractors provide a service under a written or verbal contract without being directly controlled by the person or party paying the bill. Independent contractors control how their service is provided, who provides it, and how the work is to be completed without the direction of the party who hired them.
  2. They receive payment per job: Whereas workers are typically compensated on an hourly or salaried basis, independent contractors are usually paid upon completion of the job.
  3. They provide their own equipment: Employees are usually provided with the equipment necessary to complete the job. Conversely, independent contractors bring their own equipment and supplies for each job.
  4. Training and work: Independent contractors almost always perform a single job for multiple employers and receive their training independently. If they are trained and receive regular work from a single company, they are most likely an employee.

If the nature of your employment and work does not satisfy any of the above requirements, you may, in fact, be an employee and be entitled to receive workers’ comp coverage. If you have been injured on the job and are unsure if you are an independent contractor or an employee, it is highly advisable you consult with a knowledgeable attorney.

At Alvandi Law Group, P.C., our Orange County workers’ compensation lawyers have successfully recovered more than $300 million on behalf of injured workers. To find out more about how our team of advocates can protect your rights, call (800) 980-6905 today.

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