Any time a Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier can argue an injured worker was not an employee for an employer when the accident occurred you can bet this will be a first line of defense. This is because the Workers’ Compensation Act in Pennsylvania only applies to individuals employed by an employer and does not pertain to independent contractors. So what is an independent contractor? Am I an independent contractor? You may be asking these exact questions. So here are the answers.
Courts in Pennsylvania will consider many different factors to determine whether an injured worker is an employee or an independent contractor including, control of the manner in which the work is performed, responsibility for the result only, the terms of the agreement between the parties, the nature of the work/occupation, the skills required to perform the job, whether one is engaged in a distinct occupation or business, which party supplies the tools/equipment, whether payment is by time or by the job, whether work is part of the regular business of the employer and who has the right to terminate employment. Courts tend to focus, however, on whether the alleged employer had the right to control the work being performed and the manner in which the work is to be performed. Courts have further determined that control in an employment relationship existed where the employer possesses the right to select the employee, the right and power to discharge the employee, the power to direct the manner of performance and the power to control the employee.
Many employers simply believe that by classifying an employee as an independent contractor, and supplying the employee with a form 1099 as opposed to a form W-2, the employee will automatically be classified as an independent contractor. This approach has many flaws and can easily be challenged based upon the factors courts will look to as referenced above. If your Workers’ Compensation benefits are being denied because you have been classified as an independent contractor, call the Philadelphia work injury attorneys at Pearson Koutcher Law.
Jonathan B. Koutcher, Esquire
Pearson Koutcher Law
Email Jon: [email protected]
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