One of the requirements for an injured worker to qualify for workers' compensation benefits depends upon the employment relationship between the injured worker and the employer. This means an injured worker must prove he was an employee of the employer at the time of the accident. While this seems like a simple requirement to satisfy, in reality it is a difficult process in certain situations.
Workers' compensation insurance carriers focus their efforts on defending claims by injured workers. One of the popular defenses most carriers employ is to argue the injured worker was not an employee at all, but rather an independent contractor. This defense is significant because if the carrier is able to prove that the injured worker is not an employee, or the injured worker does not have the ability to defeat this allegation on their own, it can result in the injured worker receiving a complete denial of benefits across the board.
Recently, attorneys in California have initiated claims against food delivery employers, companies which hire contract workers to deliver food from restaurants which do not offer their own delivery. These claims focus on proving these contracted workers are in fact employees, and are not independent contractors as claimed by those companies. These cases are significant because, if successful, employees who are injured while working for such companies would then be entitled to workers compensation benefits for their injuries. But if these claims are unsuccessful, those employers will still be able to avoid paying benefits to injured workers by simply claiming such workers are independent contractors.
Arguments by employers and workers' compensation carriers as to the injured workers status, as in employee or independent contractor, can be defeated with the help of an experienced workers compensation attorney.
If you or your loved ones have experienced these issues with your employer or their workers' compensation carrier, contact the experienced attorneys at Lancaster & Eure today.