Can contractors claim workers compensation?

Anyone is susceptible to sustaining an injury while on the job. Depending on the type of job one holds, the risk factor for injury will vary, as will the types and potential severity of injuries. Another concern is how the individual can recover their damages. If they are an employee, they most likely qualify for workers compensation benefits. However, if they are a contractor, what payment options are available to them?

Who qualifies for workers compensation?

Workers compensation is a benefits program administered by each state to employees in that state. Each state’s Workers Compensation Board determines who is eligible to receive benefits and under what circumstances. Guidelines vary somewhat from one state to the next, but in general, the following are usually true regardless of where in the U.S. an individual resides:

  • The injured worker must be an employee of the company. Contractors are usually not eligible to receive workers compensation benefits.
  • The accident or incident that resulted in the employee’s injury must have occurred while the employee was engaging in a work related task or job. They do not have to be on their employer’s premises. For example, if they were running an errand for their job and are injured in a car accident while driving their personal vehicle at the time, they should qualify to receive workers compensation benefits.
  • Whether or not the employee was responsible for causing the accident that resulted in their injury, as long as the above criteria are met, they are eligible for workers compensation benefits.

If I’m a contractor, how do I recover my injury damages?

If you do not meet the criteria for receiving workers compensation benefits, you may have other options available to you.

  • If the injury you sustained was the direct result of someone’s negligence, whether that was an individual or a company, you can seek compensation from that party. With the help of a workers injury lawyer, you can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. After a review of your situation, a lawyer from our firm will determine the best approach.
  • If the at-fault party does not carry liability insurance, but you have determined that they own assets that can be liquidated (such as a house, expensive vehicle, boat, etc.) then your workers injury lawyer can petition a court for a seizure of those assets. If the court grants your lawyer’s petition, then the at-fault party must sell enough assets to compensate you for your injury related damages. If they do not comply, they face the possibility of going to jail.

What should I do if I’m a contractor and I was injured while working?

The first step is to see a doctor or go to the emergency room. Taking care of your health should be your primary concern. Second to that is to contact a NY workers compensation lawyer and obtain the guidance you need to recover your damages.

Thanks to Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into workers compensation and contractors.