Most employees have confidence that if they’re injured at work, they can claim Workers’ Compensation benefits. But with companies utilizing contractors more often to save money, the situation becomes less clear.
First off, you need to determine if you are an independent, general or subcontractor.
- Independent Contractor: An independent contractor is hired directly by the principal to perform a certain set of tasks stipulated within the employer contract. Independent contractors are typically not considered employees of the principal.
- General Contractor: A general contractor is directly contracted to do a job as with an independent contractor. However, a general contractor subsequently subcontracts portions of the task to other entities. If you work for the general contractor, you are considered a subcontractor.
- Subcontractors:Subcontractors report directly to a general contractor and are not employees of the principal. Some subcontractors may be employees of the general contractor or they may also be contract employees themselves.
Principals and general contractors should stipulate in their contracts that the company with which they are working provide workers’ compensation insurance.
Principals are not usually financially responsible for an independent contractor’s injured employees. They are also not responsible for the injuries of employees of subcontractors hired by the independent contractor. General contractors are financially responsible for an uninsured subcontractor’s injured employees.
However, if an injury to an independent contractor or subcontractor is due to negligence or failure to maintain a safe working environment, the principal could be at risk of liability.
If you have been injured on a job site and are not sure how to claim your Workers’ Compensation benefits or have been refused your benefits on the basis of not knowing who is responsible for the claim, you need the services of a competent attorney to protect your rights.
Call Bochetto & Lentz today to discuss your case.