Independent Contractors and Workers Compensation Coverage

Generally worker’s compensation insurance covers only employees. A company that hires an independent contractor does not have to purchase workers’ compensation coverage for that individual, and this limits the independent contractor’s ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits. An independent contractor might recover compensation, however, ,when some form of negligence can be proved or some lapse in safety precaution caused an injury. But the trend is changing.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation notes: “Sometimes employers mistakenly consider a worker to be an independent contractor and neglect to provide workers’ compensation coverage. If an employer controls the working hours, selection of materials, traveling routes, and quality of performance of a worker, an employer-employee relationship exists and the employer is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for that employee.”

This is consistent with last year’s California Superior Court decision in Dynamex Operations West where the court made it more difficult to qualify as an independent contractor. The Bureau also notes, “Independent contractors and subcontractors may elect coverage for themselves if they are sole proprietors or partners.” Insurance agents would do well to suggest the coverage.

About Daniel McKenna

Dan McKenna
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