When you sustain an injury while you are working, you may assume that workers’ compensation will cover your medical expenses. After all, most companies in New York must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover injured employee claims.
If your employer says that it does not have to cover you because you are an independent contractor, you may need to assess whether the company has misclassified your position. The answer may not be as straightforward as the question seems to imply.
Who is an employee?
According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, factors that determine employee status include:
- Who controls how the employee performs the work
- Whether the job duties are in line with the character of the employer’s work
- How the company pays the worker
- Whether the company provides the equipment the worker uses to perform the work
- Who has the right to hire and fire the worker
So, for example, if the employer provides a company manual of policies and procedures and requires that the worker use these methods to perform the job, it implies employee status. Further, if the employer provides the tools, requires the worker to clock in and out, and pays the worker on an hourly basis, these are also indicators of an employee.
Who is your employer?
Even if the company where you perform your job is not your employer, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Janitorial services, IT companies and others that work within the company may not be part of the company, but independent contractors. Businesses can require the independent businesses that contract with them to carry their own workers’ compensation insurance.
You need to know who is responsible for your coverage because you only have 30 days from the date of the injury to report it. If you are legally an independent contractor with no coverage and a dangerous property condition caused your injury, you may be eligible for other forms of compensation.