Do you have an independent contractor working for you? Are you at risk of a lawsuit if that independent contractor is injured on the job?
Workers’ Compensation regulations have opened the door for lawsuits. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN be held liable if a 1099 contractor does not meet certain working requirements.
New regulations make a default assumption that “independent contractors” are actual employees unless explicit criteria are met. Laws now contain firm, unambiguous language and place the burden of proof on the employer. In other words, if you are hiring an independent contractor—it is your job to prove that he/she is indeed independent if there’s question.
In order to prove that your relationship with an “independent contractor” is legally valid, make sure that at least the following three factors are established:
- No Direction and Control. In order to be considered an independent contractor, a worker should carry out all activities without instruction or supervision of the presumed employer.
- Outside Trade. The service provided by the worker must be outside of the employer’s usual path of business. As a result, “overflow crews” are not independent unless you can document that they carry their own insurance.
- Independent Profession. The worker must be engaged in an independent trade, occupation or profession as an independent business enterprise. This may mean the contractor is working for others or can provide proof that he/she is truly working independently.
Every state has different workers’ compensation guidelines, so APA Insurance Services recommends that you consult a professional to determine whether or not you need workers’ comp coverage.
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