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Employees vs. Independent Contractors: How to Tell if You Qualify for Workers’ Comp

Many California workers know that if they are independent contractors they are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. But determining whether you are actually an independent contractor or a covered employee is not always as simple as what your employer may tell you.

Unfortunately, employers sometimes misclassify employees as independent contractors because of several benefits to their business. When an employee is classified as an independent contractor, the employee can avoid paying workers’ comp benefits as well as certain payroll responsibilities. This means misclassified workers and their families miss out on a number of benefits they are entitled to receive, including payments of medical costs, disability benefits and death benefits for work-related injuries.

However, even if your employer tells you that you are an independent contractor, you might not be. Consider these questions to determine whether you are an employee or independent contractor:

  • Does your employer have control over the details and manner of your work?
  • Does your employer control your work location or hours?
  • Does your employer supply your work materials or tools?
  • Can your employer fire you?
  • Are you paid an hourly wage or salary?
  • Is unemployment or Social Security deducted from your paycheck?

If you answer yes to these questions, you are probably an employee. However, if you have control over how and when your work is done, then you are most likely an independent contractor. If you were injured while on the job or suffer a work-related illness in California, a knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney can help you determine whether you are a covered employee and guide you through the claims process.

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