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Employees Misclassified as Independent Contractors May Be Entitled to Workers’ Compensation for a Work Injury

 Posted on February 09,2023 in Workers' Compensation

CA injury lawyerBeing hurt in a work accident can lead to overwhelming medical expenses and lost income. Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to help injured employees cover these expenses. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for workers’ compensation. In California, injured employees are covered by workers’ comp, but independent contractors who suffer a work injury are not entitled to compensation through workers’ compensation insurance.

However, workers that are misclassified as independent contractors but are actually employees may be able to get compensation for lost wages and medical bills through workers’ comp. If you were hurt on the job and you suspect you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, read on to learn more about how you might actually qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

Employee Misclassification in California Work Injury Cases

There are pros and cons to being an employee. Employees of a company are usually entitled to benefits like paid time off and health insurance. However, they must also adhere to certain work hours or other conditions of employment. Independent contractors, on the other hand, are not under the employer’s control to the same extent that employees are. Independent contractors are also ineligible for certain benefits, including workers’ compensation coverage.

Some employers misclassify individuals as independent contractors when they are actually employees. They may do this intentionally or unintentionally. If an injured employee is classified as an independent contractor in error, it is possible that the injured worker will be entitled to workers’ compensation.

How to Know If You Were Misclassified

According to California law — specifically Assembly Bill (AB) 5, passed in 2019—a worker is an independent contractor when all of the following criteria are met:

  • The worker is free from the hiring entity’s direct control, both in fact and under the contract for the work.
  • The services the worker provides are outside the usual course of business for the hiring entity.
  • The worker is in an independently established trade, occupation, or business that provides work of the same nature as the work that was contracted.

California law further provides that a worker is not automatically classified as an independent contractor just because they signed an independent contractor agreement. Hiring entities cannot evade California employment law by having workers sign agreements stating they are contractors.

If you suspect that you were misclassified as a contractor when your work duties and expectations actually fall under the umbrella of “employee,” and you were hurt while performing your job, you may be entitled to financial compensation through workers’ compensation.

Contact a California Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Employees are entitled to compensation when they are hurt on the job — even if they were wrongly misclassified as independent contractors. To learn more about worker misclassification, contact the knowledgeable Santa Clara County workers’ compensation attorneys at Cramer + Martinez. Call 408-848-1113 for a free consultation.



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