Regardless of where you live, there are certain groups of workers, including independent contractors, who aren’t eligible for workers compensation. If you happen to fall into one of these groups, you don’t have the option of collecting workers compensation benefits. Our Tampa workers comp lawyers meet with new clients who fall into this category every week. Our goal is to do one of two things. First, we try to prove that our client is an employee who is eligible for workers compensation. If this doesn’t work, we try to find another way to get our clients compensation for their injuries.
Here, we’ll discuss what independent contractors are supposed to do if they get hurt on the job. We will also explain who qualifies as an independent contractor. Finally, we’ll discuss what your workers compensation attorney in Florida can do if you don’t qualify for workers compensation. If you still have questions about your own workers comp case, give us a call. We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. You can come in and sit down with a skilled Tampa workers comp lawyer. They’ll review your case and let you know what your options are.
What Exactly is an Independent Contractor?
An independent contractor is somebody who provides services to a company they have a contract with. There doesn’t need to be an actual, physical contract. However, there must be an understanding between the two parties that the independent contractor will do certain work on behalf of the company. In exchange for these services, the company will pay a certain fee. This fee is not considered a salary or wages. Instead, it is a fee for services rendered.
An independent contractor is different from an employee in several ways. Some of these include the following:
- Employees are entitled to things like medical benefits, vacation time, and sick time
- Employees do not have control over their schedule, duties, or methods of doing their work
- Independent contractors have control over how they do their work, as well as the materials they will use to perform their tasks.
- Independent contractors are not entitled to medical benefits, vacation time, 401K, etc.
- Employers have zero control over an independent contractor’s schedule, work methods, or materials. They do, however, have control over the finished product required.
One other major difference between the two types of work is that employees are entitled to workers compensation. Independent contractors are not.
Florida Law Does Not Allow Independent Contractors to Apply for Workers Compensation
In Florida, independent contractors are not eligible for workers compensation. In fact, they cannot even file a worker’s comp claim. If they were to attempt to file a claim, it would be rejected right away. Employers aren’t going to pay out benefits if they don’t have to. Their insurance company sure isn’t going to pay out if they don’t have to either.
Independent contractors aren’t the only ones who aren’t eligible for workers compensation. There are several other categories of workers who are in the same boat. These include:
- Seasonal workers
- Casual employees
- Railroad employees
- federal employees
- domestic servants
- temporary workers
If you fall into any of these categories, you won’t be able to file for workers compensation. This means that, if you get hurt at work, you aren’t going to receive medical coverage or replacement wages. This can be problematic, especially if your injuries are serious. But just because you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options.
Your Tampa Workers Comp Lawyer Can Argue That You Are an Employee
One thing your Tampa workers comp lawyer can do is argue that you’re an employee, not an independent contractor. There are a couple of ways they can do this. First, they demonstrate that the company you work for has control over your work, methods, schedule, and materials. If your workers compensation attorney in Florida can show that your employer controls a lot more than just the results of your work, they may be able to show that you’re an employee.
The other approach they can take is that you are provided with the benefits that an employee is normally given. For example, if you’re given paid time off or the option to purchase health insurance through your company, you may be able to prove that you’re an employee. If your attorney is successful in this approach, your workers compensation claim may be approved.
If Need Be, Your Workers Compensation Attorney in Florida Can File Suit
If your workers compensation attorney in Florida is unable to convince your employer that you are an employee and not an independent contractor, you have options. Your Tampa workers comp lawyer can file a lawsuit against your employer. You will name your employer and their workers compensation insurance carrier. They will demand compensation for your injuries, including the following:
- medical bills
- future medical bills
- lost wages
- lost future income
- property damages
Reach Out to an Experienced Tampa Workers Comp Lawyer Sooner Rather than Later
If you get hurt on the job, it seems only fair that your employer will take care of you. They should be responsible for your medical care. They should also pay your replacement wages while you’re out of work recuperating from your work-related injuries. Unfortunately, life isn’t always fair. Our Tampa workers comp lawyers meet with clients whose workers comp claims are denied. They aren’t denied because they didn’t meet the requirements for workers comp. Instead, they are denied because their employer has determined that they are an independent contractor, and, therefore, not entitled to workers compensation benefits.
If you find yourself in this situation, we suggest you contact our office right away. You only have a certain amount of time to decide how you’re going to proceed. Rather than risk missing an important filing deadline, you can sit down with one of our seasoned workers compensation attorneys in Florida who can review your case. If they think there’s a chance to prove that you aren’t an independent contractor, they’ll let you know. If this isn’t an option, they may be able to file suit against your employer on your behalf.
Since we offer new clients a free, initial consultation, you should call and schedule yours. You don’t have to pay anything upfront, so you have nothing to lose.