A Workers Compensation Nightmare
The workers compensation system in New Jersey is supposed to be in place to protect the rights of workers who are injured while they are on the job. However, the system does not always work as it is supposed to, and companies and workers compensation insurers can be greedy to the extreme detriment of injured workers.
Take, for example, a semi-truck driver who thoroughly enjoyed making a living while exploring the country. He got hired by a smaller trucking company and regularly made the deliveries that the company scheduled while driving a truck that the company owned. One day, getting out of the truck, he slipped on some ice and fell, seriously injuring his back. He needs medical treatment and time off work since it was impossible to sit upright for hours with his injury. He seeks workers’ compensation benefits from the trucking company, only to be told that he is not covered under workers compensation because he is an independent contractor. As an independent contractor, he also had no protections against retaliation for a work-related injury, so he loses his job completely.
The above situation is only one example of how a person can be denied workers compensation benefits because they are classified as an independent contractor. While some people are truly independent contractors and, therefore, are ineligible for coverage, companies often misclassify employees to avoid having to provide coverage and comply with other employment laws.
Are You Misclassified as an Independent Contractor?
While many truck drivers are independent contractors, many should actually be classified as employees with the full benefit of employment law protections. Whether or not you have been misclassified should be determined on a case-by-case basis and the Department of Labor sets out certain guidelines and factors to consider.
Some questions that may be examined include:
- Do you make your own work schedule?
- Do you provide your own equipment (such as a truck that you personally own)?
- Do you work for more than one company at a time?
- Is your work on a per-job basis with no long-term relationship?
- Do you obtain your own licenses and training?
If the answer to the above questions is mostly “yes,” you are likely an independent contractor. However, the greater control a company has over your work – such as providing a schedule and equipment – you should likely b e classified as an employee.
Call 201-488-5454 today for more information.
As stated above, each situation should be individually evaluated for possible misclassification. A New Jersey workers compensation attorney can help you determine your legal rights. In addition, if you are an independent contractor, a personal injury lawyer can help you hold any negligent parties liable for your injuries. To speak with a New Jersey attorney about your situation, call the Law Offices of Kurt M. Resch today.