Are you considered an “Independent Contractor” rather than an employee to the company you work for? Many workers assumingly falling under this job title continually ask the same, unclear question: Am I protected under North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation, despite the association with my company? Here’s what you need to know about your rights to wages and benefits as an employee.
What is an independent contractor?
According to the NC Justice Center’s Workers’ Right Project, an independent contractor is “a worker who provides goods or services to another individual or business through an agreement.” The terms of the agreement, which can be legally written out or verbally agreed upon, determine the relationship between the worker and employee. Independent contractors are to treat a company as a customer or client, not an employee, because they might be working multiple clients at one time. Many workers question whether they are an independent contractor or employee, but it varies by situation. If you’re completely unsure, consider the following circumstances:
You may actually be an employee if an employer:
- Controls the way you handle your job (how, when, and where you work)
- Determines your hours
- Provides the supplies needed to complete your job
- Trains you on how to do your job
- Uses constant supervision over you
Another important factor to look at is how taxes are paid. If an employer provides you with a 1099 tax form instead of a W-2, then they identify you as an independent contractor. This also holds true if you’re paid by cash and no taxes are taken out.
So what does this mean for workplace accidents?
It’s extremely important to recognize that an employer is not off the hook of providing workers’ compensation by classifying someone as a contractor instead of an employee. If you’re injured on the job, courts look past whatever terms of agreement were established and review actual facts to decide if you’re an employee or not. The North Carolina Industrial Commission looks into several factors to determine a worker’s title, including if the worker:
- “Is engaged in an independent business, calling, or occupation”
- “Uses special skill, knowledge, or training in the execution of the work”
- “Is doing a specified piece of work at a fixed price or for a lump sum or upon a quantitative basis”
- “Is not subject to discharge because he adopts one method of doing the work rather than another”
- “Is not in the regular employ of the other contracting party”
- “Is free to use such assistants as he may think proper”
- “Has full control over such assistants”
- “Selects his own time”
If the courts agree that a worker is an employee, then the employer is responsible for providing benefits by the law of the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. But if they believe that a worker is an independent contractor, then the employer is not liable for the contractor’s workers’ compensation claim and the Industrial Commission has no jurisdiction on the matter.
The conversation about independent contractors and workers’ compensation is never ending, not to mention a stressful situation to be involved in. If you’re an independent contractor that’s been injured on the job, and have been fighting for workers’ compensation benefits because you believe you’re a legal employee, contact the Workers’ Compensation Law Firm immediately. Our lawyers are ready to help pursue the aid you need, and prove to the courts where you stand with your employer.
Our attorneys specialize in workman's comp, personal injury, and dispute resolution services.
We have have a long history of building long-term client relationships founded on trust and mutual respect.
With over 25 years of experience in civil litigation and thousands of cases mediated, Frank specializes in the fields of workers compensation and personal injury law.
Sherman Lee Criner
Sherman is Licensed to Practice Law in North and South Carolina. He has extensive education in law and the mediation practice, professional experience and impressive memberships in many noteworthy political, civic and business organizations.
Ashley M. Edwards
Ashley is a NC attorney and certified mediator in North and South Carolina, Ashley has represented hundreds of clients and mediated thousands of cases for attorneys, insurance carriers and private companies.
“These guys are awesome and care about their clients very much. I would suggest anyone hurt on the job to contact them. Cannot express my appreciation enough to them!"
“Ashley Edwards genuinely cares about his clients and holds himself to the highest standards in all of his professional interactions. I am happy to recommend him to anyone who needs help navigating the workers compensation process."
“Ashley has been practicing compensation law in the greater Wilmington area for 15+ years. I have often turned to him for advice and counsel. He knows the law, is trustworthy, listens to his clients, and fights to do the right thing for them. He is my first call!"
“Mr Edwards made my case feel like it was his most important case. He is so caring and attentive."
“This was the first and only law firm I contacted after being injured. Everyone there has been on point concerning my case and extremely professional. I highly recommend contacting workers comp first if injured. It will be as if it's the most important case they have and they will not disappoint. Thank you to the entire team."
“Wonderful Experience under difficult circumstances. They helped me understand my rights and options under the law. Mr. Edwards took the time to help and meet with me whenever I had questions. He is highly recommended for his expert advice and service. "
“This is the place to go if you get hurt on the job Ashley and his paralegal Janet are really nice and super easy to talk to and they take the time to really listen to your problems and get you the help you need and deserve."
“They came out took out time to listen very smart he knows what he's talking about he heard me out and took my case under difficult sircumstances and i highly advise this is the law firm to consider."
“Sherman is one of the best mediators that I know---he is extremely proficient in Workers' Compensation Law and he is an outstanding communicator. I give Sherman my highest rating!"
“Great Experience with a caring lawyer who took the time to actually meet with me. He handled my case to the end and explained everything. Highly recommended."
“Ashley is very knowledgeable and relatable to his clients, to opposing counsel, and to all parties when acting as mediator. "
“Ashley didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear but he always told me the truth. He is very knowledgeable and professional... I would highly recommend Ashley if you feel the need to hire an attorney. "
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