Under Georgia law, independent contractors do not qualify for workers’ compensation. On rare occasions, the employer may offer workers’ comp, but they’re not legally obligated to do so unless you’re a permanent employee at the business.
Independent contractors, freelancers, and consultants are considered self-employed. If you’re an independent contractor who was injured while working, our workers’ compensation attorney in Georgia can evaluate whether you may qualify as an employee.
Who Qualifies as an Independent Contractor Under Georgia Law?
Georgia does not mandate employers to extend workers’ compensation coverage to independent contractors. Because of this, some employers may attempt to miscategorize a full-fledged employee as an independent contractor to minimize liability and bypass workers’ compensation obligations.
Our workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate your current contract or employment agreement and other elements to determine whether you’re legally an employee of the company. We will look at the following:
- If the employer can terminate you if you do not adhere to their directions
- If you’re allowed to work for other employers simultaneously
- The employer decides your work hours and work location
- Your employer provides the tools and resources needed for the job
- You are paid per hour or week rather than per project
- You didn’t sign an independent contractor agreement
The more control your employer or workplace has over you, the higher the chance you will be considered an employee before the law.
If you’re deemed an employee instead of an independent contractor, you will become eligible to get your medical expenses, missed income, and other damages from workplace injuries covered with a workers’ compensation claim.
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Is an Independent Contractor Allowed to Sue the Employer After an Accident?
If you are an independent contractor and your injury occurred from the negligence of another party, whether it be the business owner you signed a contract with or another person, you can seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim.
When collecting workers’ compensation, regular employees waive their right to sue their employer in exchange for guaranteed compensation that can cover their medical bills, prescriptions, lost wages, and physical therapy. Since independent contractors are not employees, you have more freedom to sue. Through a lawsuit, you may obtain coverage for a wide range of losses beyond what’s available through a worker’s comp claim. These include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- PTSD, depression, anxiety
- and more
Note that you will be required to prove the fault of the parties whose negligence caused you harm. We can help you gather a range of evidence demonstrating how the at-fault party’s reckless actions caused your injuries.
Are Independent Contractors Allowed to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Since independent contractors are considered self-employed, they are both the employer and the employee. They can consider buying a private workers’ compensation policy that provides coverage for work-related injuries and illnesses.
Georgia does not require independent contractors to carry workers’ compensation coverage, although some companies may require contractors to purchase a policy as part of their agreement to work together.
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Has an Employer Mislabeled Your Employment Status?
If your employer has erroneously classified you as an independent employer, our workers’ compensation attorney can communicate with your employer about your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
If the employer does not agree to recognize you as an employee, we will request a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation and represent your case before the Administrative Law Judge. At the hearing, we will use evidence to cement your status as an employee. We will appeal the decision if the hearing does not reach a positive outcome.
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help You?
If you are an independent contractor who was injured at work due to the negligence of the business owner, our workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you in getting your damages covered in a variety of ways. They can:
- Evaluate the different elements of your work relationship with your employer to assess whether you may have been mislabeled and could qualify for workers’ compensation as a regular employee.
- Represent your case during the hearing before an ALJ and demonstrate why you are an employee rather than an independent contractor and, thus, deserve workers’ compensation benefits.
- If workers’ compensation benefits are not a viable option in your case, we will file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to obtain compensation for economic and non-economic losses.
Who Is Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Georgia?
Any business that employs three or more workers, including full-time, part-time, and even seasonal workers, must carry worker’s compensation insurance to cover their employees’ financial needs in case of an occupational injury or illness.
Schedule a Free Consultation to Learn How You Can Win Compensation as an Independent Contractor
Whether you are an independent contractor or an employee, if you were injured while performing your assigned job duties, we can help you pursue damages. Call us or fill out our quick online form to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with our team members,
We will thoroughly assess your case to see if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If not, we will seek damages for you through other avenues.