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Employee misclassification and work comp benefits

Being injured on the job isn't something that most people give much consideration to when they start their workday. That's usually because they have seemingly more pressing concerns on their minds from checking emails and consulting with supervisors to coordinating delivery schedules and, of course, completing their duties.

The reality, however, is that work-related injuries occur far more frequently than people realize, leaving them uncertain about their looming medical expenses, their lost wages and, by extension, their ability to make ends meet.

As distressing as all this can understandably be, injured workers here in Kentucky can take much-needed comfort in the fact that they are more than likely covered by their workers' compensation insurance.

Indeed, state law dictates that any employer with one or more employees is required to maintain work comp coverage -- with no exceptions being made for part-time, temporary/seasonal or even family-member employees.

While this does indeed cover a huge portion of the workforce, it's important to understand that there are some workers to whom this protection does not extend: independent contractors.

In general, there are multiple factors that courts will use to determine whether an individual is classified as an employee or an independent contractor, including:

  • The nature of the work: If the person's work is not a regular and recurring part of the employer's business, or was for a specific project with a firm start and finish date, he or she will likely be labeled an independent contractor.
  • The extent of control: If the person supplies their own equipment/materials, has the authority to retain or terminate their own helpers, can profit or risk loss, and has final control, he or she will likely be labeled an independent contractor.
  • Parties' intentions: If there is a written contract setting forth the respective rights and responsibilities of the person and the employer, along with a description of a specific project, dates and prices, he or she will likely be labeled an independent contractor.
  • Professional skill: If the person has a special skill, license, trade, and/or maintains a separate place of business, he or she will likely be labeled an independent contractor.

What all this serves to underscore is that if you have suffered a serious work injury, and an employer or their insurer is attempting to deny work comp benefits by claiming you are an independent contractor, you have rights and you have options for seeking justice. 

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Walker Wallace PLC
7403 Saint Andrews Church Road
Louisville, KY 40214

Phone: 502-937-1125
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