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Being an Employee and Not an Independent Contractor Entitles You to Workers’ Comp

August 14, 2019

By John W. Zatkos, Jr., Esquire

If a Worker Is found to Be an Employee and Not an Independent Contractor, the Employer Must Provide Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In Samuel Rodriquez v. Mink’s Express, the WCAB determined that the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ)’s classification of a truck driver as an employee of an uninsured employer was correct. The WCJ found the injured worker’s testimony credible and supported that the employer controlled the work environment and job tasks to be performed by the injured worker, creating an employment relationship and making the injured worker an employee and not an independent contractor.

The WCJ noted the employer controlled the work to be done and how it was to be completed. The employer owned the truck and did not reimburse for gas. The employee did not have any say over when he would work and what he would do.

When there is a question of whether one is an employee or an independent contractor, the burden of proof falls on the Claimant. In this case, the injured worker’s testimony supported the conclusion that he was indeed an employee and therefore entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits for his injury. The WCJ also found that the Employer violated the Workers’ Compensation Act by failing to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance.

What Does This Mean? There are no clear cut guidelines on who is an employee versus who is an independent contractor. A careful look at the employer/employee relationship is necessary in each and every case. However, if someone is injured on the job and found to be an employee, he or she is entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Employers should be especially careful to not misclassify as there are severe penalties for violating the Workers’ Compensation Act.

If you have a Workers’ Compensation claim, contact us or call (412) 338-1177.

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