Employee Vs. Independent Contractor
The distinction between employee and independent contractor may seem like a fairly arbitrary one until you’re injured on the job. In Maryland, almost all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that provides coverage for employees who sustain injuries on the job as a result of their employment. Only employees are eligible for coverage. Employers are not liable for injuries sustained by independent contractors, even if the injuries were directly sustained as a result of the job, and even if the exact same injury would have been covered for an employee. As you can imagine, this provides a financial incentive for businesses to classify as many workers as possible as independent contractors. For this reason, it is important to understand the distinction and ensure that you are properly classified and receiving the coverage and benefits that you are legally entitled to.
Assessing Whether You Are an Independent Contractor
The primary difference between employees and independent contractors is that employers have more control over employees. Employers can control the time and hours that employees work, the methods they use to do the work, and often provide uniforms or equipment (such as computers, vehicles, etc.) in order for them to do their job. Independent contractors, on the other hand, can generally come and go as they please. They often own their own equipment and are given a task with autonomy over how to complete it, although there may be certain criteria or quality standards that must be adhered to. For instance, an employee may drive a FedEx truck to make deliveries, while an independent contractor may drive their own vehicle to make deliveries for UberEats. Likewise, an Uber driver, an independent contractor, makes their own schedule, drives their own vehicle, and wears what they want, whereas a UPS employee drives a UPS truck, wears a uniform, and works fixed hours and takes breaks in accordance with company policy. The more control the employer has over you, the structure of your workday, and how you complete your work, the more likely you are to be an employee. On the other hand, the more control you have over how and when you complete the work, the more likely you are to be an independent contractor.
How A Lawyer Can Help
Even employees who are legitimately entitled to workers’ compensation insurance coverage often run into barriers when attempting to file a claim. Valid claims are frequently denied by workers’ compensation insurance companies as a way of controlling costs. After all, if they paid out every claim, they would likely go out of business. In that sense, getting coverage for your claim can become a bit of an endurance game, and having an experienced lawyer to help you navigate the process and ensure that you get the coverage you are entitled to goes a long way in terms of leveling the playing field between you and the insurance company. If you are an independent contractor who has been misclassified by your employer and has suffered an injury, our attorneys will hold your employer accountable for the benefits they have deprived you of and make sure you are compensated for the harm that you suffered.
Schedule a Consultation
If you suffered an injury at a Maryland workplace and are struggling to get the coverage that you are legally entitled to, contact the Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys at Berman | Sobin | Gross LLP and schedule your free consultation today.