Can A 1099 Employee Sue for Injury Compensation ?
Workers’ compensation benefits are critical for reimbursing employees for workplace injuries and illnesses. Workers’ compensation covers medical bills and lost wages, both of which are critical for your recovery.
An increasing number of workers are switching from traditional employment to becoming independent contractors, especially because of the growing availability of remote work. If you’re an independent contractor, it’s critical to know where you stand if you’re injured.
Numerous people wonder if they’ll be compensated for injuries as an independent contractor. Employers and insurance companies will often attempt to avoid approving injured workers’ claims on the grounds that they are ineligible. They may try to make the case that you don’t qualify for workers’ compensation benefits because you’re a 1099 worker. Even if you’re on a 1099, you may not technically be an independent contractor and can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. There are also cases in which independent contractors can collect injury benefits.
Am I an Independent Contractor?
In many cases, independent contractors cannot collect workers’ compensation benefits, but you may not technically be an independent contractor. The definition of an independent contractor differs from state to state, and being on a 1099 tax form doesn’t inherently mean that you’re an independent contractor.
Louisiana defines an independent contractor as someone with a great deal of autonomy who is hired for a specific result. The employer can’t have control over your schedule, wages, how you complete the job, and whether you can be fired. For example, if someone is an independent contractor working in tech, they may be hired to implement a security solution for a business, but the business can’t decide their schedule, hourly wages, or how they complete the job. If you’re working for a company that determines when you work, your hourly pay, and how you complete tasks, you are not an independent contractor. Employees will often assume that they’re an independent contractor because they’re on a 1099, but you can be on a 1099 and still technically be an employee.
If you’re a 1099 employee who is injured on the job, you have every right to seek workers’ compensation benefits from your employer.
Can A 1099 Employee Sue for Injury Compensation as an Independent Contractor?
Although many 1099 workers are technically not independent contractors, there are still plenty of independent contractors who make up the U.S. workforce. There are circumstances in which you can collect workers’ compensation benefits as an independent contractor.
Whether you can collect benefits as an independent contractor differs based on your state. In Louisiana, those who perform manual labor can collect workers’ compensation, but their manual work needs to contribute to the employer’s occupation, business, or trade. For example, if you’re hired to fix a business’s roof, that would be considered the employer’s principal business, and you would qualify for workers’ compensation in the event that you’re injured.
If you perform manual labor on something non-essential for the business, you may not be able to recover workers’ compensation. For example, if you’re contracted to fix a company’s A/C unit and are injured, you will likely not qualify for workers’ compensation because the A/C is not a principal part of their business, occupation, or trade. Their business can likely still function without the A/C unit, so it’s not an integral part of their business.
Claiming Workers’ Compensation as a 1099 Worker or Independent Contractor
Although there are many situations in which independent contractors cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits, you should still contact a workers’ compensation lawyer if you’re injured on the job. There’s a great deal of nuance when it comes to defining an independent contractor and what qualifies as an eligible injury, so you need expert legal assistance to advise you on your legal options.
When you work with a workers’ compensation lawyer, they will try to prove that you’re either technically a 1099 employee rather than an independent contractor or that your injury is eligible for compensation.
When working with a lawyer, you might be able to get your workers’ compensation approved by the employer and their insurance company, but you may need to engage in legal action to fight for your injury claim. Workers’ compensation lawyers are critical in this situation because they have experience fighting for workers in court.
Additionally, you may want to sue the employer or another employee if there was negligence involved in your work injury. Even if you don’t qualify for workers’ compensation, you could receive a settlement or win your case in court if your injury resulted from another person’s negligence.
Contact Experienced Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you were injured at work, you need seasoned legal professionals to help assist you with your claim. Employers and their insurance companies will often try to avoid paying out claims even when injured employees are eligible. For expert workers’ compensation guidance you can trust, contact Lunsford, Baskin, and Priebe, PLLC. We have numerous years of experience helping workers like you receive the money they deserve for workplace injuries. Call our New Orleans office at 504-656-6579 or click here for a free consultation.