Injured Workers Employee or Contractor?

You never planned to be injured at work, and when the accident happened you probably wish you had. As a self-employed North Carolina worker, or independent contractor, you may have gotten the job because you were competitive, experienced and flexible. Now, you might wonder what lies ahead: medical bills, impairment, loss of wages, unemployment…

This is the time to clarify your status: Are you an employee or a contractor?

The answer is not always straightforward. Even if you signed a work agreement as a contractor, your status will be defined by your actual work situation rather than what is written on paper. Several criteria will be used to define your status, such as:

  • Did you work exclusively for this company? What does your contract say? If you can prove that you worked only for this company, it would suggest an employee status, even if your contract says that the company has no exclusivity over your work.
  • Did you make investments in order to be able to execute work for the company? If not, and if the company provided you with office space, tools, a telephone or access to their server, you have elements leaning towards an employee status.
  • Were the expenses you had while performing your work reimbursed by the company? If yes, it may point towards an employee status.
  • How were you paid? By month, week, or by the job? Being paid the same amount at regular intervals makes you look more like an employee.
  • Did you get benefits from the company you worked for? Benefits like insurance or pension plans, sick pay or vacation days are normally not accorded to contractors.
  • Did the company have the right to control your work? Did you depend on the company to do your work? Control means that the company sets your work schedule, gives you targets and instructions. Dependency means that you depend on the company to do your work, such as their training, manuals, procedures, personnel, etc. Both would point towards an employee status.
  • Were you hired on a permanent basis, is your contract automatically renewable? A permanent contract would indicate an employee status, while a contract ending after a specific time or when specific work has been accomplished does not.

If you think you should be considered an employee rather than a contractor, the change may have a number of far reaching consequences not just for you and your family, but also for your client/employer. Legal advice from an experienced workers’ compensation law firm would be recommended. Contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-1671, or send us an e-mail for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.