Workers’ compensation laws provide a process for employees to file a claim when injured on the job. But what if you’re not an employee but an independent contractor? Who is liable in this case? This article will explore the different aspects of workers’ compensation for independent contractors. However, it is essential to note that each state has different workers’ compensation laws, so be sure to research the specific laws in your state. For an in-depth understanding of the subject, click personal injury attorney Syracuse NY here.
Before getting into who is liable, it is vital to understand what an independent contractor is.
Who Is An Independent Contractor?
An independent contractor is a person or entity that contracts with another person or entity to perform work. Independent contractors are not employees of the company they work for. They are usually paid per project or per hour to undertake vital projects or tasks.
Independent contractors are often used in a variety of industries. For instance, they may be used as plumbers, electricians, roofers, or painters in construction. In the software industry, they may be used as developers or designers.
Why Would A Company Use An Independent Contractor?
There are a few reasons. The first is that it can be less expensive. The company does not have to pay for things like Social Security or unemployment taxes. Second, the company does not have to provide benefits like health insurance or paid vacation days. Finally, the company does not have to worry about liability if the independent contractor is injured while working.
After answering the question “Who is an independent contractor?” let’s move on to the next one:
Who Is Liable When An Independent Contractor Is Injured While Working?
Answering this cannot be very easy since there are different parties involved. Let us look at the various players:
The company hiring the independent contractor must ensure a safe work environment. For example, if a construction company hires an electrician, they need to ensure that they have protective gear like gloves and that the work area is free of hazards. If the company does not take these precautions and the electrician is injured, the company can be held liable.
The client is the entity or individual with a contract with the contracting company. For instance, in our construction example, the client would be a home or property owner. Typically, the client usually has no direct contact with the independent contractor. The client can be held liable if they knew about a hazard on their property but failed to warn the contracting company. So should the contractor get injured, the client could be found at fault.
Some massive projects, such as high-rise buildings, will have different contractors working on the same site. For example, there may be a masonry contractor and an electrical contractor. If one of the sub-contractors is injured due to the negligence of another contractor, then the at-fault contractor can be held liable. However, if the same contracting company hired the at-fault contractor, the contracting company can be held liable.
The Independent Contractor
Sometimes, the independent contractor can be held liable for their injuries. For example, if the electrician we mentioned earlier was not wearing gloves and got injured, they would not be able to sue the company they were contracting for. The reason being they did not take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.
In this case, if the independent contractor is insured, licensed, and bonded, their insurance company would be liable for the injuries.
Manufacturers Of Defective Products
Finally, the manufacturer can be held liable if a defective product causes an injury. For instance, the manufacturer can be liable if a faulty power drill injures a construction worker.
Different parties can be held liable when an independent contractor is injured while working. In some cases, the contracting company or client may be found at fault, while the independent contractor may be held liable in other instances. Ultimately, it will depend on the specifics of each case. For example, the manufacturer is liable if a defective product is involved. So it is always crucial for an independent contractor to take proper precautions to avoid accidents and injuries. However, should an accident occur, it is vital to seek legal counsel to determine who may be held liable. Your case can be reviewed by an experienced attorney who will advise you on how to proceed.