According to the Department of Labor, independent contractors make up about 6.9% of the U.S. workforce. Independent contractors typically have more flexibility and freedom in their work, which is why this is such a popular working arrangement.
There are some drawbacks to being an independent contractor, though. For example, independent contractors do not receive many of the benefits that are awarded to regular employees, such as health insurance or paid time off. But, what about workers’ compensation benefits? Here’s what independent contractors in Oklahoma should know:
Can Independent Contractors Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
The vast majority of workers are covered by the workers’ compensation system in Oklahoma. But, there are certain groups that are excluded, and unfortunately, one of these groups is independent contractors.
How Independent Contractors Can Recover Compensation For Workplace Injuries
Workers that are classified as independent contractors may still have a chance at recovering compensation for their injuries. How? First, it is important to determine whether you are wrongly classified as an independent contractor. It’s possible that your employer wrongly classified you as an independent contractor to avoid paying you employee benefits. If you are wrongly classified as an independent contractor, an attorney can help you fight to have your status changed to employee. Since employees are covered by the workers’ compensation system, this status change could give you the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
What if you are correctly classified as an independent contractor? You may not have the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits, but you may still recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. However, this is only an option if your injuries occurred as a result of your employer’s negligence.
For example, let’s say your employer fails to give you the protective gear you need to stay safe at work because they are trying to cut costs. If you are injured as a result of this negligence, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer to recover compensation. In this example, you could still recover compensation for your injuries even though you are not legally entitled to workers’ compensation.
Independent contractors may not have the right to collect workers’ compensation benefits, but that does not mean they are out of luck following a workplace injury.
Have you suffered a work-related injury while working as an independent contractor? If so, the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. can help. We will explore all options in order to determine the best way to secure compensation on your behalf. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.