In Georgia, independent contractors, or 1099 workers, are not considered employees through the companies they do work for. Because of this, they are not entitled to workers’ compensation claims through that employer. However, some employers list their workers as independent contractors to exploit payroll tax loopholes and higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums. When negligent employers abuse the system, you need to hire an Atlanta independent contractor injury lawyer to ensure you get the compensation you need. The Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys at Cruz & Associates have more than 25 years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims and we understand the challenges facing injured independent contractors.

Options for Injured Independent Contractors

While an injured independent contractor cannot depend on workers’ compensation benefits, there may be other methods for obtaining compensation for a workplace injury. Additionally, misclassified employees often need legal assistance to prove their employment status. An employee’s actual status isn’t contingent on how the employer classifies the employee in business documentation; it depends on the nature of the employee’s work and hiring process. This is when it’s important for Georgia workers to know their rights as employees when it comes to workers’ compensation law.

Independent contractors generally provide services completely on their own accord. The employer and the contractor enter into a contract in which the employer agrees to pay for a specific service. It’s up to the independent contractor to decide how to complete the obligations set forth by the contract. Typically, independent contractors decide who performs the work, how the work is performed, provides the equipment and tools necessary to perform the work, and largely works outside the direct supervision of the employer.

If the employer conducted a full interview, hiring, and onboarding process for the supposed independent contractor, this would likely classify the contractor as an employee. Even signed written agreements stating the employee is a contractor are not enough to qualify the employee as a contractor. Another factor is pay. Independent contractors typically receive payment upon job completion, whereas employees receive hourly wages or salaries.

Lawsuits for Independent Contractors

In the event an independent contractor suffers a serious injury due to an employer’s negligence, the injured contractor can usually pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. The injured plaintiff will need to prove that the defendant (the employer) had a duty to prevent the injury. The issue of “foreseeability” comes into play in these cases. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant should have known about the potential for injury but failed to prevent it. For example, an employer hires an independent contractor to perform work on a house, but fails to inform the contractor about an unstable floor. The contractor falls and suffers injuries to their head or brain. Since the injury was foreseeable, the employer would likely be liable for the contractor’s damages.

Employees have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits in good faith, regardless of how their employers classify them. At Cruz & Associates, our team of Atlanta injured independent contractor lawyers relentlessly defends our clients’ rights in workers’ compensation claims and other civil actions. If you have recently suffered a workplace injury as an independent contractor, or your employer is denying you workers’ compensation due to misclassification, contact our firm for a free consultation. We can let you know your options and what to expect from the legal process.