In California, only “employees” are covered by the workers’ compensation system. Independent contractors are not covered in California, and contractors often end up paying out-of-pocket the costs associated with their on-the-job injuries. However, even if you assume that you are an independent contractor, when you are hurt on the job, it’s smart to speak with an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney. The fact is, you may actually, technically be an “employee” under California law, and you may qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you’re injured.
Legal employees may assume that they are independent contractors for a number of reasons. If your employer does not withhold taxes, and if you receive a Form 1099 rather than a W-2, you may erroneously assume that you are a contractor. However, the failure to withhold taxes and the type of tax form you receive have no bearing on whether you are a legal employee or an independent contractor. You may also assume that you are a contractor if you are on a pay schedule different from the company’s other employees. Again, the way you are paid has no legal bearing on whether you are an employee or a contractor.
Moreover, it doesn’t matter if your employer “considers” you or classifies you as a contractor, either. The law, not the employer, defines who is and isn’t a legal employee. If you are being denied workers’ compensation benefits because your employer considers you a contract worker, a good workers’ compensation lawyer can fight for your rights, determine your actual legal status, and help you to obtain the benefits you need. If you’ve been injured on the job, you need to act promptly. You’ll face some deadlines. Get the legal help you need and the benefits you deserve; speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately.