At the Stockton Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, P.C., our attorneys are often asked, does workers’ compensation applies to independent contractors? The answer to this question may be easy to understand for most individuals. However, the more difficult question that often arises from our discussions with clients is, are you properly classified? The answer to the first question is if you are correctly classified as an independent contractor, you do not receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, our attorneys find that most contract workers are classified as independent contractors improperly. In the eyes of the law, many of these workers should likely be classified as employees.
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Wrongful Employee Classification Explained
Under California’s Worker’s Compensation system, if you’re improperly classified, you still get the benefits of an employee. So, the question then is, are you appropriately classified as an independent contractor, or more appropriately, are you an employee entitled to California’s workers’ compensation benefits? To answer this question, we have to start with the presumption that you’re an employee under California law if you work for somebody. In most cases, the burden is on the employer to show that you’re not an employee and have been correctly classified as an independent contractor. This burden of proof is critical to your case. Besides the burden of evidence, determining whether you’re an employee or an independent contractor is essential for correctly assessing a worker’s classification.
Controlling Factors for Employee Classification
These controlling factors can substantially affect a worker’s classification, but you are probably improperly classified as an independent contractor if an employer controls your actions and workday. In addition, what you do and don’t do can dictate whether you’re an employee or an independent contractor. For instance, the more control an employer has the more power they exert over your work, and the more likely you have been improperly classified as an independent contractor. When legally under California law, you’re considered an employee, thus giving you access to the state’s workers’ compensation benefits system.
Other Determining Factors of Worker Classification
Other factors of employment that we look at are more than just controlling factors, such as what you do and how you do it. But we also look at you are paid on an hourly basis. Does the job pay you? Does your employer have the right to end your contract at any time? Or is your assurance for a specific project or a specific duration? Also, could you tell me whose tools are used to complete the work? Are they your personally owned tools? Or are they the employer’s tools? If the employer’s tools are used to complete the job, you’re more likely an employee. Also, could you let me know if you are required to work on certain days or hours?
Those are just a few of the critical factors. However, the most vital question is, does your employer exert control over you, your workday, and your work product? If the answer is yes, the more power your employer exercises, the more likely you’ve been improperly classified as an independent contractor.
If you’ve any doubts or questions, you should reach out to one of our attorneys at the Stockton Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, P.C., and get proper advice on this issue. Our expert workers’ compensation attorneys often find that injured workers are improperly classified as independent contractors when they are, in fact, employees that are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. We highly recommend talking to a qualified workers’ compensation attorney if you have any questions.
Our Stockton workers’ compensation lawyers offer FREE no-obligation consultations to injured workers in Stockton and northern California. If you believe that you’ve been improperly classified and denied your right as an employee to access the state’s workers’ compensation benefits system, our team of attorneys will assist you in determining your eligibility. We will work aggressively to help you receive the necessary treatment and obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve to recover from your work-related injuries or illness.