Joint Employers, Independent Contractors, and Workers’ Compensation

Some work projects involve multiple companies. For example, many large-scale construction projects can have more than one employer. Some workers may end up being in the employment of more than one company.

The initial issue in these types of cases if often whether the worker was an independent contractor or an employee of at least one company. There are standard criteria that are used to decide who is an independent contractor and who is an employee. A crucial factor is who has right to control the worker. Does the worker set his/her own schedule, bring his or her own tools, and make final decisions on how the job is to be done? Or does an employer decide the schedule, provide the tools and make work decisions? Once the direct employer is found, the question is whether any other employers also controlled the worker?

If it is determined that an employee worked for two or more companies, then the question becomes which employer has the duty to make the lost wage and medical payments authorized by Workers’ Compensation Laws. North Carolina solves this problem by apportioning the benefit payments in the same proportion as the wage benefits. If one employer was paying $400 a week and another employer was paying $200 a week, then the $400 week employer pays 2/3 of the benefits while the $200 employer pays 1/3 of the benefits. North Carolina does allow the two employers to alter the proportions provided the employee still gets the full benefits.

If a direct employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, (a frequent occurrence in the construction industry) and was a subcontractor, then if one travels up the ‘chain’ of subcontractors, you then ask: did the contractor who hired the worker’s employer ask the employer (subcontractor) for a certificate of workers’ compensation insurance? If the higher-up contractor did not, then the contractor who hired the injured worker’s employer is on the hook through their workers’ compensation insurance.

And what if the contractor who hired the sub (injured worker’s employer) also had no workers’ comp insurance? In that case, you keep going up the “chain”, all the way to the General Contractor on the job if necessary, and ask the same questions, until you find someone who was insured.

Joe Miller Esq. knows North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law

When you’ve been hurt on the job, you worry about getting income in, paying the doctors, and getting back to work. Attorney Joe Miller has been helping thousands of work injury victims for a long time. He will review your case, assert your rights, and defend unreasonable contests. Contact attorney Joe Miller at Joe Miller Law, Ltd. by calling (888) 694-1671 today to learn more.