As a worker in New Jersey, you have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits if you are hurt on the job. Unfortunately, employers and their workers’ compensation insurance providers both have a vested interest in minimizing or denying payment after a work-related injury. A common strategy they’ll employ is to allege that you were not an employee, but an independent contractor, and therefore responsible for providing your own workers’ compensation coverage. Workers in a variety of occupations often face this ploy, including salespersons, construction workers and landscapers.
As a general rule, though, these efforts are based on a number of faulty assumptions about eligibility for workers’ compensation:
- There’s no requirement that you be on a company payroll to qualify for workers’ compensation
- There’s no requirement that you have payroll taxes withheld, or that your employer pay any workers’ compensation insurance premiums on your behalf
- You don’t have to have an office, locker or other similar space at a company to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits
To the contrary, to successfully qualify as an independent contractor, you must meet a number of tests, including:
- You must be free of any direction or control by the company for whom you do the work—the greater the control of time, schedules, assignments, etc., the more likely you will be considered an employee
- You must be paid by the job, not by salary or hourly wage
- You must provide your own equipment—computer, desk, supplies
As a general rule, to be eligible for workers’ compensation in New Jersey, you must only show that you were injured and that you were working for the company at the time. To determine if you qualify as working for the company, the workers’ compensation judge will look at the totality of your relationship with the employer. If it has the appearance of an employer-employee relationship, you will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact the Cintron Firm
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or 917-494-5695 to set up an appointment.