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Employee Vs. Independent Contractor: Who Qualifies for Workers’ Comp in New York?

Accidents can happen occasionally, no matter what industry you work in. However, in the eyes of the state, being an employee or an independent contractor will determine your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits. Learn the complexities of New York’s workers’ compensation law, who qualifies for coverage, and how to advocate for your rights if you want compensation for your injuries.

What Is An Employee?

New York’s definition of an employee includes most workers, no matter how many hours they worked or the length of time they’ve been working for. This includes full-time, part-time, leased, and seasonal workers operating under the direct supervision of an employer. Employees in New York are generally eligible for their employer’s workers’ comp insurance, which provides benefits for injuries or illnesses directly related to their job duties.

Eligibility for workers’ compensation in New York is straightforward for employees. If you’re injured or get sick while at work, you’ll receive workers’ compensation benefits. This coverage extends to various conditions you could encounter in the workplace and offers financial assistance for medical care, rehabilitation, and lost wages while you recover.

What Is An Independent Contractor?

On the other hand, an independent contractor typically runs their own business and performs services without the control or direction of the organization or person paying them. Unlike employees, independent contractors won’t receive workers’ compensation coverage. They’re responsible for buying insurance since they operate their own businesses and provide services to other clients.

While most independent contractors won’t qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under the state’s law, there are exceptions based on the industry and specific circumstances. For example, some contractors might be covered if their work relationship with an employer closely resembles an employee’s.

Do Misclassification Issues Happen?

Misclassification of workers is a relatively common issue. While some cases could be a simple mistake, a few employers deliberately label employees as independent contractors to avoid paying workers’ compensation and other benefits. This misclassification can prevent workers from getting benefits and could lead to serious legal consequences for employers, including fines and jail time.

What to Do If You’re Denied Coverage

If you think your employer is misclassifying your employment status with them or denying you workers’ comp benefits, you have the legal right to challenge this decision. Contact the DOL’s task force and file a complaint immediately to start an investigation. You should also consider discussing your case with a knowledgeable lawyer who’s familiar with the state’s workers’ compensation laws and can help you fight for your benefits.

File Your Workers’ Comp Claim Today

Understanding your rights and eligibility under the state’s workers’ compensation law is the first step toward securing benefits. If you’ve been injured and are unsure what to do next, our New York workers’ compensation lawyers are here to help. We’ll ensure your claim is filed accurately and will hold your employer accountable for their actions. Please contact us online or at 855-599-2141 to schedule a free case review today.

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