The Right To Sue For Injuries When Not Covered Under Workers' Compensation

15 January 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog

When you have been injured on the job, it can be a frustrating and stressful time. You get frustrated when you realize that you can't go to work for awhile, and wonder how in the world you'll support your family. If you're lucky enough to be considered a W-2 employee, you should be covered under workers' compensation.

Workers' compensation is an insurance program that is required by all employers to be purchased for their employees. The program works in such a way that it protects the employee when they are injured. Things like medical bills, lost wages and even rehabilitation will be paid under the workers compensation program. 

Your employer is protected because when you are covered under workers' compensation, the money that comes to fund the payouts you receive come from the insurance company, not the assets of your employer. Also, you cannot sue your employer because of your injuries. If you are not a W-2 employee, things can get a little more complicated:

The 1099 Independent Contractor

If you receive a 1099 at the end of the year, and you do not have any taxes taken out of your paycheck, you are considered a 1099 independent contractor. You are not considered an employee, and therefore you do not qualify for workers' compensation.

Now, if you are a contractor that does multiple jobs for many employees, it would have been wise if you had taken out some type of liability insurance or health insurance before you started looking for work. If you have, you should be covered under those policies, at least for payments of all your medical bills and rehabilitation needs. 

Because you are not covered under the workers' compensation policy, however, you can sue the entity you were working with, because they are not your employer.

Suing for Compensation

There are a couple of different law suits you can pursue if you have been injured on a job where you were deemed an independent contractor.

  • Negligence. You can sue the entity you were working for if you can prove that they were negligent and somehow caused your injury. It is their job to keep a work place safe no matter if they hire independent contractors or employees.
  • Violation of Labor Laws. If you feel that the entity you worked for somehow violated labor laws, you may want to consider suing under those grounds as well.

Also, it's important to understand that you may have been incorrectly deemed an independent contractor, and all along should have been an employee, and therefore covered under workers compensation. Talk to an experienced workers compensation attorney for more information on your rights to sue due to injury.