Generally, if an individual is an “independent contractor” and they suffer from an injury on the job, that contractor is responsible for maintaining their own workers’ compensation insurance. Frequently, employers will hire individuals as “independent contractors” to perform work as employees. This formal classification allows employers to have certain tax advantages and may relieve them of the responsibility of purchasing workers’ compensation insurance to cover “employees.”
Just because you may be classified as an “independent contractor,” does not mean that you necessarily are. There are a host of factors which can impact whether a person is, in a legal sense, an independent contractor vs. an employee. Generally, independent contractors are hired to perform one task or project. Independent contractors have control over when the project is completed and how the work will be performed. They are also usually paid by the project, rather than by the hour. If you are supervised by a general contractor who directs the work you perform, tells you when to show up and when to leave, or otherwise acts like a “boss,” you may actually be considered an “employee” under Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws. This is true even if you have a contract which declares you to be an independent contractor.
If you suffer from an injury at work, but you are told that you are not covered because you are an independent contractor, do not just take their word for it. If there are factors which suggest you are being treated as an employee while you worked, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from the “general contractor.” A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can help you sort through these issues. Cedar Rapids workers’ compensation attorneys are available to discuss any questions you may have about your injury. Contact Wertz & Dake for a free consultation.