If you’re an employee, the Georgia workers’ compensation program will provide benefits to cover your medical bills, partial lost wages, and disability costs after a work-related injury. But what happens if you’re an independent contractor? Independent contractors do not have an entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits. Determining your status as a worker under Georgia law, however, can be difficult. There is a chance your employer has misclassified you. Seek help from the workers’ comp attorneys at Kaufman Law, P.C. as an injured independent contractor in Atlanta.
Independent Contractors and Workers’ Compensation Benefits
For employees, the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation is a source of assistance and financial benefits after a work-related injury. Unfortunately, independent contractors do not enjoy the same safety net. The state’s workers’ compensation program does not apply to the self-employed. Workers’ compensation laws make coverage optional for self-employed workers, or independent contractors. Without this optional coverage (which the majority of Atlanta employers do not provide), independent contractors may be stuck paying their medical bills and other losses out of pocket.
In Georgia, it is not mandatory for employers to purchase coverage for independent contractors. This means that most will forgo this type of coverage in order to save money on insurance premiums. If your employer happens to be one with independent contractor coverage, your claims process will look much like any employee’s. Otherwise, you could end up in a legal battle regarding your classification at work and your options for benefits. If this is the case, retain an attorney for assistance.
What to Do if You Believe Your Employer Has Misclassified You
The exemption for self-employed workers creates a chance for employers to unfairly misclassify their employees as independent contractors to evade their workers’ comp insurance responsibilities. On the flipside, it might encourage insurers to classify independent contractors as employees to maximize an employer’s premium. The best way to find out if your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance covers you is to file a claim. If you receive a denial because you are technically self-employed, don’t give up there. Consider the question of whether or not your employer has deliberately or accidentally misclassified you.
Employers often try their best to classify workers as independent contractors. Doing so lowers the price of workers’ compensation insurance and decreases the employer’s liability for work-related accidents. There is a good chance that you are in fact an employee in the eyes of the law. One of our attorneys can help you determine your true status. We’ll look at any existing contracts or employment agreements you have, as well as your payroll schedule, type of work, job tools, hours, and how much control you have over your work overall.
If we find that you’re actually an employee, we can help you fight a denied workers’ compensation claim and possibly receive extra benefits as a penalty against your employer for the mistake. You can contest the issue of your classification as an employee or contractor and file a claim to adjust your employment status. The employer and its insurer may then face liability for workers’ compensation benefits previously thought not to apply. For help with this often-complicated issue, work with Kaufman Law, P.C.. Contact our attorneys online or call us at (404) 355-4000.