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Can Independent Contractors Receive Workers Comp Benefits in Virginia?

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Can Independent Contractors Receive Workers Comp Benefits in Virginia?

Can Independent Contractors Receive Workers Comp Benefits in Virginia?

By jfhoen

Workers’ compensation laws in the US aim to help injured employees recover from their injuries and get back to work as soon as possible. To support this purpose, the Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to provide designated benefits to their employees. Most companies meet this obligation by procuring a workers’ comp insurance policy. However, employers are not obligated to cover independent contractors, who are responsible for obtaining their own insurance. A person who is a true independent contractor cannot receive workers’ comp benefits. 

Still, the line between employee and independent contractor is not as clear-cut as you might think. An employer might label you as an independent contractor to avoid paying workers’ comp insurance, even when the conditions of your employment carry all the attributes of being a true employee. The practice of misclassification is unlawful, so you should not allow the company to stand in the way of receiving your rightful benefits. Consult with a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney about your unique situation, but an overview is important.

Critical Definitions

The statute supplies some clarity on contractor versus employee under Virginia workers’ comp law.

  • An employee includes all individuals who are in the service of another entity, whether under a contract for hire that is written or implied. This definition covers situations of lawful and unlawful employment, such as minors and aliens.
  • An independent contractor is also under a contract for hire. The distinction is that the person delivers services that are not in the usual course of the trade, business, occupation, or profession of the company doing the hiring.

Misclassification Under Virginia Labor Laws

Besides the workers’ comp statute, there are additional sources of information about employee or contractor status. Labor laws indicate that a person is NOT an employee when the company only has the right to control the results provided by the worker. When the organization has the power to manage the process on how the work is completed, there is an employment relationship.

The Virginia workers’ compensation system puts the burden on the employer in these cases. You are allowed to file a workers’ comp claim even if you are labeled as an independent contractor. It is up to the company to contest the classification and prove that you are an independent contractor.

Protect Your Classification for Workers’ Comp Benefits

Your employer will bring all possible evidence to show that you are an independent contractor, so you must be prepared to fight the claims with your own proof that you are an employee. Collect information regarding: 

  • The long-term, continuing working relationship with the company;
  • All materials, devices, tools, and resources the organization provides to help you perform work-related tasks;
  • Details on how your employer directs work scheduling, location, and workflow; and,
  • Employer-provided training.

Discuss Classifications with a Hampton, VA Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Misclassification puts your rights to workers’ comp benefits at risk, so you must be proactive about getting workers’ comp benefits after a workplace accident. To learn more, please contact Hampton Injury Law to schedule a case evaluation. A Virginia workers’ comp attorney can explain the laws and assist you in moving forward.

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