How is an independent contractor different than an employee in Workers' Comp Cases?
If you are injured on the job, it is important to know the relationship you have to your work environment. In many cases, you are simply the employee of an employer – you work for a business. Sometimes, people are hired as independent contractors, which is a separate legal status. When this happens, the workers' compensation process can become more complicated.
Why do these complexities arise? One of the most common reasons for this is the legal ambiguity of the term 'employee.' The terms employer and employee are often defined circularly - meaning that an Employer is defined as one who has an employee, and an Employee is one who works for an employer. Regarding the law, these definitions can shift according to the kind of case the law is being applied to, so it is difficult to come to an understanding of what an Employee may be.
Another aspect of ambiguity comes from employers and businesses hiring independent contractors, but end up treating them like employees. There are various examinations and tests that can be employed to test these limits, but they all basically investigate how integrated the worker is to the business. If the worker reports only to that business, is trained in that business's style and approach, and is controlled by the business owner, the worker might be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor – which has significant legal and tax ramifications.
The differences between the two are murky at best, however, so it is important to contact an attorney if you have questions about your employment status or a workers' compensation case. George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers offers free phone consultations all day, everyday. We are available throughout the entire state of South Carolina area with staffed offices in Greenville, Charleston, Columbia, Orangeburg, Moncks Corner, and Walterboro.