Workers’ compensation benefits in Lake Wylie, South Carolina apply to injuries that are suffered by an employee and not independent contractors or subcontractors. There are times when employers try to wrongfully classify their employees as independent contractors as opposed to members of their staff for the purpose of getting around having to pay workers’ compensation benefits.
In fact, some employers may ask you to sign written documents that state you are not an employee of theirs. But, if you are employed and you are hurt on the job, you are certainly an employee. If your employer is arguing that you are not an employee when you need to claim workers’ compensation benefits, you should get in touch with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney right away.
Under South Carolina law, there really isn’t a set definition of an independent contractor. Typically, an independent contractor is a person who exercises independent employment and does piece work according to his or her own methods without being under the control of an employer, in other words, without being told when and how to do their job.
Only employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, and determining whether or not an injured member of staff is officially an employee or an independent contractor is often an issue that is contested before the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The Four-Factor Test for Determining If You Are an Employee or an Independent Contractor
This analysis tends to be fact-intensive and the courts usually rely on a Right to Control Test in order to determine if you are an employee or an independent contractor. The test assesses whether your employer has the right to direct and control your work. When conducting the test, the court examines a number of factors to figure out if the right to control exists in your case. The factors that show right of control include:
- Method of payment
- Right to fire
- Direct evidence of exercise or right of control
- Furnishing equipment
Based on these four factors in your Lake Wylie, South Carolina workers’ compensation claim, the court determines if your employer has the right to direct and control your work. Note, however, that the right to control does not require being told how to perform your work. It is simply enough if your employer has the right to direct you and dictate where, the date, and amount of services are provided by you.
When your employer furnishes the tools and equipment, your employee status is really a matter of common sense, whereas an independent contractor may have his or her own tools and equipment. Further, payment on time is also a strong indication of your employment status, whereas if you are paid on completion of a project, you are more likely considered to be an independent contractor.
Finally, the power to terminate your work or fire you is considered the power to control. If you, as the injured employee, have the ability to be fired, then this does, indeed, support an employer/employee relationship.
Can an Independent Contractor Get Workers’ Compensation in Lake Wylie, South Carolina?
In South Carolina, our workers’ compensation laws provide protection for employees who are injured while at work. But, not everyone hurt in the workplace is considered an employee. Often, companies hire independent contractors, and they are just as susceptible to on-the-job injuries as employees. When an independent contractor is injured, it can create a complicated situation.
Overall, employers are obligated to provide workers’ compensation insurance just for their employees and not for any independent contractors they may contract to work for them. Hence, an independent contractor may not make a claim for workers’ compensation if he or she is hurt while carrying out a job for a company.
It is worth noting that the South Carolina Supreme Court has stated that there are certain situations where someone that an employer refers to as an independent contractor could well be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This is due to the fact that employers will sometimes call someone an independent contractor when they really are a full-time employee.
However, employers do not get the final call on whether someone is an independent contractor or their employee. In fact, the federal government, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and even the state of South Carolina has a set of criteria that determine what a person’s role really is.
If your employer claims that you are merely an independent contractor when you suffer an injury in the workplace, but you are really considered an employee under the law, you are entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation in Lake Wylie, South Carolina.
Have You Been Injured on the Job? Talk to a South Carolina Attorney Today
If you or someone you know has been hurt while on the job, talk to an attorney at Elrod Pope today. The question of whether the injured person is a contractor or employee is one that comes with a variety of complex legal and factual questions, and questions that are likely to arise when claiming for workers’ compensation benefits in Lake Wylie, South Carolina. Instead of trying to settle your claim on your own, talk to one of our attorneys who has the knowledge and experience to help you fight for the compensation your rightly deserve. Book a consultation to discuss your concerns and questions.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.