Understanding The Difference Between Independent Contractors And Employees For Your Workers Compensation Case


In order to be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits for your on-the-job injury, you must be classified by law as an “employee” rather than an “independent contractor.” Just because your employer classified you as an independent contractor, however, does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to recover compensation for your work-related injury or illness.

“Here is where it gets tricky,” says our Los Angeles on the job injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach. “Your employer’s classification does not matter as long as the nature of your employer-employee relationship clearly shows that you are an employee.”

Employers tend to misclassify their employees as “independent contractors” in order to not only avoid paying workers compensation benefits in the event of a job-related injury but also to avoid paying payroll taxes and for many other reasons. In a nutshell, misclassifying employees as independent contractors is more profitable for a business in California.

But just because your employer calls you an independent contractor, it does not necessarily make you one. You may still be able to obtain workers compensation benefits if you can prove that you were misclassified by your employer.

Blurred difference between an independent contractor and employee

“Most workers in California tend to think that if they sign an independent contractor agreement with their employer, they will have no legal option to recover compensation even if they were misclassified by their employer,” explains our experienced on-the-job injuries lawyer in Los Angeles. “This is not true even if that agreement says that you are not eligible to receive workers compensation benefits in case of a job-related injury.”

In most situations, the difference between an independent contractor and an employee can be blurred and ambiguous. That is why seeking legal advice from a skilled lawyer, who will be able to make the determination for you, is vital to determine whether or not you are eligible to receive workers compensation.

In order to determine your status and find out if you can be considered an independent contractor or employee by California law, you will need to collect all types of evidence available, including but not limited to written agreements, emails, any writings sent by the employer, checks, pay stubs, and hand it over to an attorney for review.

Factors to establish an employer-employee relationship

But how does California law differentiate independent contractors and employees? A Los Angeles on-the-job injuries attorney and the court will analyze the following factors in order to determine whether or not there is an employer-employee relationship:

  • The extent of the employer’s control and supervision of the individual’s work and means of accomplishing the end result.
  • Does the individual run an independently established business, which provides the employer with its services, or can it be said that the worker has a distinct occupation and/or could not exist independently from the employer’s business?
  • Who provides the tools and equipment to perform the work?
  • How does the employer pay the individual for the services? Is it by time or by the job?
  • Is the work the individual performs part of the regular business of the employer?
  • The extent of the individual’s investment and involvement in the employer’s business.
  • Does the individual hire other people to assist him or her?
  • The extent of permanence of the working relationship between the individual and employer.

Contact the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach, and let our workers comp lawyer in Los Angeles, CA analyze your particular situation and determine whether you are an independent contractor or employee. Keep in mind that just because your employer classified you as an independent contractor does not necessarily mean that you have no right to obtain workers compensation benefits.

Call our offices at 818-609-7005 or complete this contact form to get a free consultation.

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