Can You Collect Workers Compensation Benefits if You Are an Independent Contractor?
When somebody gets hurt on the job, they are typically entitled to workers compensation benefits. These benefits include medical care for any work-related injuries as well as weekly replacement wages. The problem is that not everybody is eligible for workers’ compensation. Regardless of what state you live in, if you don’t meet the criteria for workers comp, you will not be able to collect benefits. Our Charlotte workers comp lawyers understand how frustrating this might be. However, that doesn’t mean that you have no right to pursue your contracted company for damages. If you happen to be an independent contractor, this is the only option available to you.
Since independent contractors are not technically employees, they are not eligible for workers compensation. This means that your workers’ compensation attorney in Charlotte may have to pursue legal action in order for you to be fairly compensated. Instead of proving that you meet the criteria for workers comp, you will need to demonstrate that your employer, for lack of a better word, was negligent. To do this, they will have to do the same thing they would do in any other personal injury case.
If you aren’t sure whether you have a valid claim, contact our office directly. We do offer new clients a free, initial consultation. This means you can come in and sit down with one of our seasoned Charlotte workers comp lawyers and find out what your options are. If you do qualify as an employee, then you may be able to file for workers compensation. If, however, you actually are an independent contractor, then the best way to proceed is by filing a lawsuit against your employer and any other relevant parties.
Not Everybody is Entitled to Workers Compensation Benefits
Under the law, not everybody is entitled to workers compensation benefits. In North Carolina, as well as most other states, there are certain categories of workers that are not eligible for workers comp. Some of these include the following:
- farm and agricultural workers
- federal employees
- railroad workers
- domestic servants such as nannies and housekeepers
- casual or seasonal workers
- temporary employees
- independent contractors
Since independent contractors are not technically employees, they’re not eligible to file for workers compensation. This means that your only option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the company that you do work for. While this may sound like a bad thing, there are some benefits. Under the workers’ compensation, you are only entitled to medical care and weekly replacement wages. As soon as you are fit to return to work, your benefits end, and you are expected to work full-time.
As an independent contractor, you are allowed to file a lawsuit against the company that you have a contract with. Not only will you be entitled to compensation for any medical bills, but you can also pursue them for the other damages associated with personal injury. This includes property damage, lost future income, as well as pain and suffering. As long as your workers’ compensation attorney in Charlotte can prove that your employer was negligent, you will have a good chance of collecting damages.
How Do You Know That You Are Legally an Independent Contractor?
Some of the people we meet with are not sure if they are an employee or an independent contractor. Some people work for a company for years and never realize that there’s a difference. If you file a workers compensation claim and it’s denied because they say you’re not an employee, this will answer your question. However, if you truly believe that you are employee and not an independent contractor let your Charlotte workers comp lawyer know.
They will look to see if your position qualifies as an employee. If it does, they can help you file an appeal for workers’ compensation benefits. If it is clear that you are an independent contractor, that may be good news. They will be able to file a lawsuit on your behalf and pursue damages. These damages will far exceed anything you could have collected under workers compensation.
There’s a Good Chance Your Workers Compensation Attorney in Charlotte Will Settle Your Case
Even if you have to sue the company you’re doing work for, that doesn’t mean it will go to trial. Most of these cases settle at some point before trial. Nobody wants to go to trial, including your employer. Your workers’ compensation attorney in Charlotte is going to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. This way, you can walk away with a lump sum rather than waiting a year or long for your case to drag on.
What we recommend is that you contact our office and speak with a skilled Charlotte workers comp lawyer immediately after your workplace accident. We understand how frustrating it is to learn that you aren’t entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, that doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to damages. The one good thing about being an independent contractor is that you have the right to sue the company you work for. If you were an employee, your only option would be to collect workers compensation benefits. That would mean you couldn’t demand damages for pain and suffering or lost future income. At least as an independent contractor, you have this option.
Since we offer new clients a free, initial consultation, you should call and schedule your consultation today. You can do this by phone or through our website. Take the time to sit down with a seasoned workers compensation attorney and have them review your case. If they think it has merit, they’ll more than likely be willing to represent you. If we don’t feel that your case has value, we will be upfront and honest about it. The last thing we want to do is get your hopes up if there isn’t a likely chance that you’ll win. However, since the consultation is free, you have nothing to lose by coming in.