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Are Independent Contractors Covered by Workers Compensation?

When it comes to workers compensation, independent contractors are not eligible for benefits. The law in Florida is very clear on this. However, just because your employer has categorized you as an independent contractor, that doesn’t mean they are correct. Even if you have a contract that states you are an independent contractor, that doesn’t mean the work you do qualifies you as an independent contractor. For example, if the company you work for controls your schedule and the work that you do, you may be an employee from a legal perspective. The same is true if your employer pays you through the same payroll system and on the same schedule as their other employees. Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Tampa, Florida will review your work history and see if they can prove you’re an employee rather than an independent contractor.

Can Your Workers Compensation Lawyer in Tampa, Florida Prove You Were an Employee?

Whether you’re approved for workers compensation will depend on whether your Tampa workers comp attorney can prove that you’re actually an employee. To do this, they will have to use the Internal Revenue Service’s 20-factor test. This is the test the IRS uses for determining a worker’s status for tax purposes. For example, the IRS will look to see who pays for your tools and supplies. If the company you’re doing work for pays for these things, your Tampa workers comp attorney will argue that you are an employee and not an independent contractor.

Your Tampa Workers Comp Attorney Will Use the IRS 20-Factor Test

Of course, it wouldn’t make sense to list all 20 of the factors the IRS considers when determining an employee’s status. However, some of the factors included in the test are worth mentioning here. Some of these include the following:

  • How long have you been working for the company?
  • Did the company provide you with extensive training?
  • Who pays for your assistants and other workers?
  • Do you handle a lot of on-site tasks?
  • Do you have a rigid or flexible schedule?
  • Do you work for just one company or several at the same time?
  • Do you have the right to fire people or is the company responsible for that?

Once your workers compensation lawyer in Tampa, Florida has a chance to apply the IRS’ 20-factor test, they’ll have a much better idea of whether you can qualify as an employee. Depending on what they find, they may urge you to apply or appeal your workers compensation claim.

independent contractors

Control and Worker Flexibility are Important Factors

Two of the factors that are determinative in a worker’s compensation case are control and flexibility. If someone is a true independent contractor, they would make their own schedule and work when and how they please. They would not have to report to anybody within the company aside from providing updates, as needed, to the owner or executive management team. An employee, on the other hand, would have very little control over these things. They would have to work a full-time schedule like all other employees. They would also be paid on the same schedule as the rest of the staff. In addition, they would have to follow whatever rules and guidelines the company required of them. They would not be able to come and go as they please. Nor would they be able to work for multiple companies as this would interfere with their ability to work a full-time schedule. Your Tampa workers comp attorney will examine these factors to see which side you fall on – employee or independent contractor.

Financial Investment and Responsibility for Expenses Matter Too

Another important factor that the IRS would consider for determining a worker’s employment status is financial responsibility. For example, who is responsible for buying the tools and other supplies needed to do the job? If the company pays for these things, it will lead the IRS to determine you were an employee. The same is true if the company invests in you as a worker. For example, do they allow you to take part in their 401K program and match your contributions? Do they provide you with optional health insurance? Are you able to accrue sick time and vacation time? These are the things your workers compensation lawyer in Tampa, Florida will look at. If they can prove that you are an employee per the 20-factor test, you may become eligible for workers compensation benefits.

Your Workers Compensation Lawyer in Tampa, Florida May Be Able to Help

If you have been denied workers compensation benefits because your employer has classified you as an independent contractor, you should contact our office. There is a fine line between an independent contractor and an employee. As far as the law is concerned, independent contractors are not eligible for workers compensation benefits. However, the Internal Revenue Service has issued a test for determining whether a worker is an employee as opposed to an independent contractor. Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Tampa, Florida are very familiar with this test. We will do whatever we can to demonstrate that, for purposes of workers compensation, you are an employee and, therefore, entitled to benefits.

If you have questions about your own workers’ compensation claim, call our office right away. We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to sit down with a seasoned Tampa workers comp attorney and ask them any questions you may have. It also gives our attorneys a chance to review your case and see if it is worth pursuing. Since the consultation is free, you have nothing to lose. There is a lot on the line here. Qualifying for workers comp benefits can make a huge difference in your life. It can even determine whether you can continue to do the same kind of work going forward. Call today so we can set up a date and time that works for you.

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