Can I File for Worker’s Comp in Georgia if I’m an Independent Contractor?

Workers’ compensation was designed to help take care of people who were injured at work. It is meant to be a short-term solution. Eventually, you are expected to return to work. If your accident leaves you with permanent disabilities, you’ll either receive a lump-sum settlement or you’ll get long-term benefits.

For the most part, everyone who is employed is entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Your employer pays into workers’ compensation so their employees can be covered. If someone gets injured at work, the employer’s workers’ comp insurance will pay them benefits. They’ll also cover their medical bills.

There are certain groups of employees who aren’t covered by workers’ compensation. For these employees, they have to rely on disability. They may also have supplemental insurance such as Aflac. They will not receive workers’ comp benefits.

Moultrie Workers’ Comp Lawyers Know Who is Covered and Who is Not

In Georgia, certain groups of employees are not covered under workers’ comp. These groups include:

  • Business owners
  • Volunteers
  • Independent contractors
  • Federal employees
  • Railroad employees
  • Maids and domestic servants

If you fall under any of these categories, you are not covered under workers’ comp.

The reason most of these employees aren’t covered is that their employers don’t contribute to coverage for them. Sometimes, employers will attempt to classify someone as an independent contractor simply to avoid paying the workers’ comp.

You should know whether you’re an independent contractor long before you apply for workers’ comp benefits. For one thing, if you’re an independent contractor, federal and state taxes are not withheld from your pay. This is something you would notice. It would be very hard to miss.

Most independent contractors have also signed a paper with their employer stating as much. It is very rare for someone to work as an independent contractor without an agreement stating the fact.

Your Workers’ Comp Attorney Knows the Distinction Between Employee and Independent Contractor

If you are unclear whether you’re an independent contractor or not, your workers’ comp attorney can help. He understands the difference between employees and independent contractors. If it is not clear which one you are, he will make a case for you.

The distinctions between an independent contractor and an employee include:

  • Independent contractors work free from any control by the employer. They determine how and when they’ll do their work. They aren’t managed by the employer or its management.
  • Employees are paid on an hourly or salary basis. Independent contractors are paid by the job.
  • Independent contractors are normally not provided with any equipment. Employees are almost always given all the tools they need to do their job.
  • Employees are trained whereas independent contractors are not. This is also true for evaluations. Employees receive regular review and evaluations whereas independent contractors are not.

It’s important to note that, just because a written agreement states you’re an independent contractor doesn’t mean you are. If you are treated like an employee, your workers’ comp attorney will make a claim that you are an employee and eligible for workers’ comp benefits.

How Can a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Moultrie Help?

If you’re injured at work, you need to contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Moultrie. Your attorney can help make a case for your being an employee. If he can prove that you’re an employee, you can apply for workers’ comp benefits.

If you get hurt on the job, you need to immediately report your injury to Human Resources or your manager. They will let you know if there is an issue with your claim. If you are denied, it may be because your employer has you classified as an independent contractor.

If you are indeed an independent contractor, your claim will be denied. You can’t switch from contractor to employee overnight for workers’ comp purposes. Your employer can’t switch you even if they wanted to. They haven’t paid into your workers’ comp insurance so you can’t be paid benefits.

Insurance companies aren’t in the business of paying claims. If they have a reason to deny a claim, they will. The burden will then shift to you to prove that you’re entitled to benefits. Requesting workers’ comp benefits as an independent contractor is like filing a car accident claim under a policy that doesn’t exist. It doesn’t work.

If you’ve been hurt at work, call and schedule a free consultation with a Moultrie workers’ comp attorney. He can answer any questions you may have.

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