Even before COVID-19, there were over 10.6 million independent contractors in the United States. They actually make up for close to 7% of all working adults. Now that the pandemic has forced more people to work from home, these numbers will likely climb even higher.
If you happen to be an independent contractor, the last thing you want to do is get hurt while on the job. Unfortunately, independent contractors are not covered under workers compensation in Mississippi.
Mississippi workers compensation lawyers get calls all the time from people wanting to know if they can claim these benefits. The bottom line is that no company is going to pay for insurance to cover non-employees. They aren’t required to do so by law so there’s no way they’ll voluntarily do something like that.
But that doesn’t mean you have no options. Here, we’ll discuss the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. We’ll also explain what you’re supposed to do if you get hurt while working.
The Legal Definition of an Employee in Mississippi
Mississippi law states that independent contractors do not count as employees for workers comp purposes. According to Mississippi statute 71-5-11 (J)(14), only employees are covered under unemployment insurance and workers comp. If you aren’t quite sure if you qualify as an employee or an independent contractor, the following six (6) questions should help clarify things for you:
- What level of skill is required to do your duties?
- Who provides the work location and supplies?
- What is the length of time you have been performing your duties?
- What is the method of payment?
- Do you have a separate business of your own?
- Who has control over your job functions?
These are the questions the court will ask when determining your employment status. If they conclude that you’re an independent contractor, you will not be eligible for workers comp benefits.
Show Your Mississippi Workers Compensation Lawyer a Copy of Your Contract
Even though you aren’t entitled to workers comp benefits, your contract may provide for some other kind of liability. Some independent contractors have a contract with the company they’re doing work for. This contract may state how to handle injuries that take place on the job.
Unfortunately, the contract more than likely holds the company harmless for any injuries you suffer. Whether or not this contract will hold up in court is unclear. You need to show a copy of it to your Mississippi workers compensation lawyer. They can review the document and let you know what your options are.
You May Have a Claim in Personal Injury
While you won’t be able to file a worker’s comp claim, that doesn’t mean you have no sort of redress. Your Mississippi workers compensation lawyer may be able to help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the company instead.
It all depends on the facts of your case and how the injury took place. If the injury happened on their property, it can be treated like any other premises’ liability case. If, however, you were nowhere near their property, equipment or in their control, it may be difficult to sue.
What you can do is call and talk to one of our Mississippi workers compensation lawyers. They can review your case like they would any other personal injury case and give you an idea of whether you have a claim for damages.
Take Advantage of Your Free Consultation Today
If you are a freelancer or independent contractor, you aren’t going to be able to file a claim for workers comp. It doesn’t matter what state you live in. The law is very clear about who qualifies as an employee. If you get hurt while performing your job duties, you have a few options.
You can apply for disability through the state, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit. You should meet with an experienced Mississippi workers compensation lawyer right away to discuss your options.
We understand your frustration if you’ve been injured and have nowhere to turn. Unfortunately, that’s the price independent contractors pay. Employers aren’t required to cover you under workers comp. But that doesn’t mean you have no sort of recourse.
Sit down with one of our seasoned attorneys and see what your next steps should be. Your initial consultation is free, so you lose nothing by taking a meeting. Call our office and pick a date and time that works for you.