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If I'm a contractor, can I still collect workers' compensation?

These days, it is not uncommon for people to find in positions work that aren't necessarily traditional. People drive Uber cars, do freelance design jobs and work for companies where they stay on for the duration of a specific project rather than as a full-time employee. People in these jobs are typically considered contractors.

While there are certainly benefits to being a contract worker, there are some downsides that may come as an unwelcome surprise. For instance, employers are not required to carry workers' compensation insurance for contractors. But this does not mean that you are without legal options if you have been injured on the job and are considered a contractor. 

Independent contractors can still be eligible to receive workers' compensation if the North Carolina Industrial Commission determines that they are in fact employees, not contractors. This can be done after the commission considers many different elements of the injured worker's job.

For example, a person can be considered an employee if:

  • The employer has considerable control over the worker
  • The employer withheld taxes from the worker
  • There is some permanency of the relationship between the two parties

These and other factors can mean that a person labeled as an independent contractor is actually an employee, and therefore should be covered by workers' compensation.

Too many people make the mistake of believing an employer or relying on their own assumptions when it comes to knowing their rights as an employee and/or contractor. This can create some serious problems and ultimately work against someone when it comes to matters like workers' compensation benefits.

If you have been injured on the job but believe or were told that you aren't eligible for benefits, you don't have to take this answer at face value. You can discuss your options and legal rights with an attorney to ensure you don't miss out on benefits you need and deserve.

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