Many independent contractors often assume that they have no rights as a worker based on their employment classification. So, when hurt on the job, they frequently don’t reach out to an injury attorney because they assume that they waived their right to compensation by working as a contractor.
This is a shame because a lawyer can absolutely help a contractor injured at work. A hurt contractor may have a claim based on their employer’s negligence or ill-will.
What Rights Do Contractors Have When They’re Injured?
Contractors typically operate with more freedom than a W-2 employee, for better or for worse. And the law keeps changing when it comes to contractors and their rights, which can be stressful for an independent contractor hurt on the job.
In fact, this is a pretty hot-button issue here in California that seems to change almost yearly. In 2019, Assembly Bill 5 created the ABC test to help employees determine if they might be misclassified as independent contractors. In late 2020, Proposition 22 had a huge, negative effect on app-based drivers who were forced to be classified as contractors. And very recently, Proposition 22 was ruled unconstitutional.
Workers’ compensation benefits are only required to be provided to W-2 employees and not contractors. It’s unfortunate that contractors can’t apply for these benefits, because they can frequently cover medical care, loss of wages, disability issues, and more. However, this does not mean that contractors waive their right to sue over injuries at a job site.
An Employer May Be Liable for Injuries Regardless
It’s generally true that the threshold to get coverage for injuries under workers’ compensation is lower than what an independent contractor must prove in a lawsuit. But even then, an employer is responsible for the safety of all their employees, including independent contractors.
If an injury was caused to a contractor and the employer did not take reasonable care to make it a safe work environment, then that employer was negligent. They should be found responsible for the preventable harm to the contractor and may need to be encouraged to cover damages through a lawsuit or settlement.
Contractors May Be Misclassified
The intent behind contracting is to allow employers to retain the services of a worker that might not be necessary on a regular basis for the business to operate. Nonetheless, many cheap and shady employers will deliberately misclassify employees as independent contractors in order to save money spent on benefits.
An important discussion when considering a lawsuit is to investigate if you were even classified correctly. You may have been due more benefits than you were given.
Actual Contractor Cases from an Injury Attorney
Belal Hamideh’s recent cases page provides many real-world examples of contractors who were able to get remedy under the law after a workplace injury. Two quick examples that relate to what we’ve discussed here:
- Homeowners Insurance Personal Injury Case: A contractor hurt his back working on a roof. He was able to claim $200,000 in a settlement.
- Uninsured Employer Case: An employer denied that an injured client did not work for them. Belal Hamideh showed that they did and were liable for their on-the-job injuries, netting a $180,000 favorable verdict.
If You Might Have a Case, Call Belal Hamideh Law
An injury attorney based in Long Beach, Belal Hamideh is happy to meet with anybody after a workplace injury even if you’re worried you’re not covered. Call Belal Hamideh Law at (562) 526-1224 to schedule a free consultation about the merits of your case.