How Employment Status Affects Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

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It is the million dollar question when it comes to workers’ compensation coverage and, eventually, benefits: are you an employee or an independent contractor? Unfortunately, there is no single, established definition under South Carolina as to what an independent contractor is. What is clear, however, is that state compensation benefits only apply to injuries suffered by an employee. This means that your employment classification directly affects whether or not you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits as a result of a workplace injury. Many employees, and sometimes even employers, are not completely sure of the correct way to classify an individual.

In other words, if you are an independent contractor who was injured on the job, you are precluded from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The good news is, however, that sometimes employers classify workers as independent contractors when they are in fact employees. If you or someone you know is unsure of your work status, contact an Anderson workers’ compensation lawyer right away to seek help in answering this question.

Employee vs. Contract Worker

The argument as to whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor is not a new one. In fact, this specific issue is commonly argued before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) when benefits are in dispute.

The SCWCC as well as South Carolina courts will consider multiple factors to determine whether someone is an employee or a contract worker. Specifically, they rely on what is known as the “right to control” test when classifying individuals. This test examines whether or not the employer had the right to control and direct the work of the individual in question. No one factor is dispositive of the determination and includes:

  1. The employer’s right to control the method of payment;
  2. The employer’s right to control the furnishing of equipment;
  3. The employer’s right to control the right to fire; and
  4. Direct evidence of the employer’s right to control (or the right to exercise control).

The threshold question is whether the right and authority to control and direct the work by the employer exists. If the employer has the right to direct the person by whom the services are to be performed as well as the degree, time, place and amount of services, then this question is likely satisfied. Similarly, if an employer provides the tools and equipment necessary to perform the job, right of control is inferred. Payment on a regular basis, as opposed to per project, also supports an employee relationship and not contract worker status. Finally, the power to fire or terminate the work or employee is also a telltale sign of control.

Anderson Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been injured at the workplace, contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney at The Law Offices of Steven M Krause PA right away. Determining the status of a worker is one of the several complicated and factual as well as legal questions that a victim of a workplace accident will likely face when seeking workers’ compensation benefits under South Carolina laws. Do not try this alone. Call (864) 225-4000 today for your initial case evaluation.


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