Many professionals who work in Pennsylvania do so as independent contractors instead of full-time employees. There has been an increase in the number of businesses hiring "independent contractors" rather than full-time workers. In reality, however, these workers are anything but independent. In many cases, employers are improperly classifying workers as independent contractors to avoid incurring tax and insurance costs. This can be a major problem for misclassified workers who are injured on the job.
How can you tell if you're an employee being miscategorized as an independent contractor?
Pennsylvania courts have developed a test, based on a number of factors, to determine if a worker was an employee or an independent contractor. Courts would review a number of factors, including duration of the contract, the nature of the work, and how the worker is paid, among others.
Typically the biggest factor is who determines how the work is done. If the employer has direct oversight over what work is done and how the work is done, case precedent generally indicates that the employee will be found to be just that, and not an independent contractor.
If this applies to you and you have suffered an injury on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation coverage and other damages, even if your employer claims you are not. Businesses that intentionally categorize their employees as independent contractors can be held financially liable. They may be required to pay back whatever benefits are paid to the injured party.
However, in order to make a case that you are employee, you will need to work with an experienced workers' compensation attorney who understands Pennsylvania laws.
How an attorney can help you
Navigating the workers' compensation system is complex. If you attempting to file a claim and were denied because of your employment status, an attorney can help you appeal that decision. If you need the courts to establish that you were an employee and not a contractor, an attorney can help you in that regard as well. From requesting hearings to filing a civil law suit, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you get the workers' compensation benefits you deserve.
If you have been injured at work as an independent contractor, speak with a workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. He or she can help you decide what do to next.