In traditional nine to five jobs, employee compensation is an integral part of the worker-employer relationship that supports injured workers and companies alike. Employees have job security and time to recover from their injuries. However, if you are an independent contractor, what do you do if you have an accident at work?
As a contractor, you are technically not an employee with the same protection. Your operation is different from the company and you take on a role specified in your contract for a specified period of time. There are many types of independent contractors, from plumbers to specialist freelancers.
With the advent of peer-to-peer marketplaces like Instacart and Uber, handling accidents at work is getting more complicated. These companies are not required to offer independent contractors the same level of protection as regular employees, such as B. Health insurance, paid sick leave or employee compensation. Here’s how to deal with confusing situations when you, as an independent contractor, have an accident at work.
Claims take time that injured parties do not have
Independent contractors are largely free to determine their own hours of work and are free to withdraw if they need time to attend a doctor’s appointment or other engagement. The disadvantage is that the contractor usually offers its own health insurance and similar protective measures. When injuries do occur, the independent contractor is usually alone to pay the associated costs and to take the time to recover. It is up to the employer to decide whether or not to wait until the employee is better.
Even traditional employees are waiting for the insurance company’s decision on a claim. It can take up to 21 days to decide whether or not to grant employee compensation. Speaking to an attorney will bring you prosecution for your services or a defense if the services have started but something is wrong.
Some companies require an employee to go back to work if the employee is not ready and refuse to pay medical bills that they say are unrelated to a filed employee compensation. You can return to work from the hospital with certain restrictions if you are unable to perform certain tasks. This shows that compensation, insurance, and work injuries are a complicated system, with you and an employer having more questions than answers. Situations may arise where there is a desire to pursue a case, especially an independent worker who is not limited to any protection.
Whether or not you get your own insurance, you need to make an appointment with a lawyer before the expenses get too high.
What if you were misclassified when you were hired?
What if circumstances are gloomy? It is not always clear who is to blame. Some companies classify employees as contractors in order to save money, but sometimes the working relationship circumstances are too closely similar to an employee-employer relationship.
Some laws place more emphasis on the behavior of the parties than on labels used in contracts that employees must sign, for example when they want to drive a taxi. This happened in the Linton v. DeSoto Cab 2017. Co. Inc. Case where the work done by the employee was an integral part of the business. DeSoto had also provided the tools including the cab and only charged gate fees for business revenue. The case was sent back to the court to reconsider the evidence and clarify that labels in contracts did not set anything in stone. Have you been misclassified as an employee?
You may have been given a proprietary cell phone or other devices and tools that you can use to do business for free. The work you do is necessary and an integral part of doing business. That supports an employee-employer relationship. If you had received a franchise fee, you could be considered an independent contractor. If you don’t get paid or don’t have to follow a set schedule, the court still raises an eyebrow.
What are your options?
More and more people are working as independent contractors and the sharing economy is growing. The standard rules do not apply to everyone, and many workers feel hung out to dry – especially if they cannot get their own insurance. Even if they can, there are many obstacles. Currently, companies are not required to take action to protect contractors, and independent contractors are not eligible for typical employee compensation.
Independent workers need to advocate for companies upfront and in building relationships with third parties. Have injury and disability insurance options right from the start. You may also be eligible for social security benefits for the disabled and may wish to proceed with your disability application through your county health department.
In addition, legal decisions are available to all injured workers, but the odds against independent contractors are even greater. For example, you can pursue a misclassification case or sue for bodily harm of negligence.
When you’re hurt, there is no time to wait. When an injury occurs in the workplace as an independent contractor, circumstances and intentions cloud over.
Seek treatment and put your health first – otherwise you are not good to anyone. Do your part and contact your company and insurance company if you have a policy.
Gather all of your information and don’t be afraid to dig deeper. Consulting a lawyer does no harm, as does talking to those you work for to develop better protection policies for those who follow you.