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Can independent contractors receive workers' compensation?

An increasing number of people have discovered the benefits of working as an independent contractor. In fact, one recent report found that one out of every 10 Americans now works as an independent contractor as of 2018. While there are various benefits to gain, such as working your own hours, anyone planning on pursuing this type of work should be aware that the law does not mandate employers to provide workers' compensation to freelancers. 

There are numerous ways for independent contractors to sustain injuries during their course of work. One example would involve heading out on assignment for an employer only to end up in a car accident on the way there. However, it is vital for freelancers to know when an employer should really consider them to be a regular employee. 

Pay and hiring

Independent contractors receive pay through each individual assignment. Conversely, employees receive an hourly or annual salary. If an employer pays you by the hour, then there is a chance that you could qualify for workers' comp if you suffer an injury. Other factors could suggest an employer has mischaracterized you as a freelancer.

Control and direction

Employers do not give independent contractors much in terms of direction. Generally, it is up to the freelancer to decide how to provide the designated service. Therefore, one freelancer could decide to work 12 hours in one day while another decides to dedicate three hours a day across four days to finish. If the employer dictates how to conduct the work, then it is a problem. 


Additionally, attorneys will look at who ultimately provided the tools necessary to complete the work. Employers must provide essential equipment, such as computers or desks, to their employees. Meanwhile, independent contractors have to pay for these tools out of their own pockets. An employer providing tools to freelancers could indicate the boss expects more of an employee relationship. Any independent contractors injured on the job should really evaluate the terms of their employment to see if they can fight for workers' comp. 

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