Hasner Law | Workers' Compensation | January 28, 2023
Workplace injuries and accidents are common. Millions of workers are injured on the job each year. In 2021, over 2.6 million nonfatal injuries were reported in the private sector alone.
Workers’ compensation provides benefits for employees injured on the job. However, the person injured must be an employee performing tasks within the ordinary scope of their employment at the time of the injury. Independent contractors are typically not covered by workers’ compensation insurance and cannot file a claim after a work-related injury.
Georgia workers’ compensation laws require that most employers purchase and maintain workers’ comp insurance for their employees. However, partners and self-employed individuals are not required to purchase workers’ compensation coverage. Unfortunately, work injuries for self-employed individuals can be devastating.
Can Self-Employed Individuals Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Even though workers’ comp might not be required for self-employed individuals, it does not mean they cannot purchase coverage. Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals can purchase a workers’ compensation policy that covers them if they are hurt on the job.
Reasons for purchasing workers’ compensation insurance if you are self-employed include:
- Satisfying state requirements for workers’ comp coverage
- Working in a high-risk industry, including construction
- To replace income if you are unable to work
- Meeting contractual obligations as an independent contractor
The medical benefits and wage benefits for self-employed individuals depend on the terms of the workers’ comp policy they purchase. Even with a health insurance plan or disability insurance policy, it can be wise for someone who is self-employed to have workers’ compensation coverage.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim When You Are Self-Employed
It is essential you understand the procedures for filing a workers’ compensation claim if you are self-employed. Your workers’ compensation policy might contain specific requirements, procedures, and deadlines for filing claims. Therefore, you should be familiar with your policy before an injury occurs.
Typically, the process for a self-employed workers’ comp claim is similar to a regular employee. If you are an employee, you report the injury to your employer, who then reports the claim to the insurance company. Because you are the “employer,” you must report the injury to your workers’ compensation insurance provider.
After you file your workers’ compensation claim, you must provide evidence of your injury. You may be required to submit medical records, witness statements, and other evidence proving you were injured on the job. You might also be required to provide additional details regarding the work injury.
Your workers’ comp insurance company should assign an investigator or adjuster to handle your claim. That person investigates the claim to determine if you are entitled to workers’ comp benefits. You can appeal the workers’ compensation denial if the insurance company denies your claim.
Unfortunately, self-employed workers’ compensation policies can be confusing. The insurance company might make filing a claim to receive benefits intentionally difficult. If you have questions or concerns, you should talk with an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer.
Generally, the workers’ compensation benefits for a self-employed person are similar to an employee. The company should pay for your medical treatment. You should also receive compensation for lost wages if you cannot return to work during recovery.
However, policy terms vary. Therefore, discuss the policy with the insurance company to ensure you understand the coverage before you purchase the policy and pay the insurance premium.
Can a Self-Employed Person Sue a Client for a Work Injury?
If your negligence caused your injury, you probably cannot sue a client for an injury if you are self-employed. However, you might be able to file a lawsuit for a work injury in several other types of circumstances.
For example, suppose the client failed to disclose dangerous working conditions or hazards on the property. In those cases, the client might be liable for damages in a personal injury claim.
If a third party causes an injury while you are working, that party could be liable for damages. For example, suppose a defective took causes your injury. In that case, you could sue the manufacturer for damages under product liability laws.
Another example is when a client exercises direct control over how the work is performed. If the client tells you how to do your job, a court might find the client is your employer, even though they claim you are an independent contractor.
Negligence claims against clients are more complicated than workers’ comp claims. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system. You do not need to prove anyone caused your injury.
However, when filing a negligence claim, you have the burden of proving fault and liability. You must have evidence proving another party negligently or intentionally caused your injury. If you can prove a third-party claim, you could receive more compensation than you could receive for a workers’ comp claim.
Contact the Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help
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