When you are on the job every day, you probably assume if you are injured while working that you are covered by Workers’ Compensation. You are also assuming that your employer carries such insurance, as required by law, or that the company considers you an employee and not an independent contractor.
These are two different issues, but they can result in a lot of problems if you are hurt at work and need to pay your medical bills and have money to live on.
Workers’ Compensation benefits employers in that injured employees cannot sue them for on-the-job injuries. In return, the employee’s medical expenses are paid via Workers’ Compensation – not via their employer-related health insurance – and they can receive temporary disability benefits, equal to roughly two-thirds of their weekly wage up to a certain limit.
If an employer fails to provide Workers’ Compensation coverage for employees, the injured employee may file a personal injury third-party lawsuit against the employer.
There are pros and cons to filing a lawsuit. The pros include the fact that the injured worker may receive damages for pain and suffering, and, if the situation was due to gross negligence or recklessness on the employer’s part, punitive damages are a possibility. The downside is that filing a lawsuit and going through court takes a long time, and the injured worker must prove fault on the part of the employer.
Those working as independent contractors are not covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance, and an employer has no requirement to purchase such coverage for these workers. However, some people who are working as independent contractors are not necessarily working in that capacity as per the law.
A true independent contractor works without direct supervision by the employer, and provides their own equipment. They are generally paid by the job, and do not receive regular wages or salary. They usually work for more than one employer.
Even if an independent contractor signs an agreement stating they are working in an independent capacity, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation may determine they were actually working as an employee, depending on the nature of the job and the person’s work.
For example, an independent contractor usually does not receive on the job training from the employer. Such training, along with regular and exclusive work by the same company, may indicate the person’s status is an employee, not an independent contractor.
Employers who fail to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, or those who misclassify independent contractors to avoid paying such claims, may face criminal prosecution and considerable fines. If the work pertained to construction, the employer may also face penalties under the state’s Construction Workplace Misclassification Act.
You need the services of the experienced Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP. We assist in exploring all the options available for individuals injured at the workplace, including those whose employers did not carry the necessary insurance, or who were misclassified as independent contractors. Call today at 267-589-0090 or contact us online. From our Philadelphia offices we serve clients across Pennsylvania.