Open Accessibility Menu

Workers’ Compensation and Independent Contractors

Casey Woodruff

undefinedIf you are doing work for someone and you are classified as an independent contractor, are you entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? Generally speaking, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/) does not permit an independent contractor to receive workers’ compensation benefits if that independent contractor sustains an injury while she is performing the services for which she is being paid. For instance, if an independent contractor in Chicago does freelance work as a technical writer and begins suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome because of that work, it is unlikely that she will be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

Are You an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

While some scenarios seem relatively straightforward when it comes to determining whether an injured worker will be classified as an employee or an independent contractor, many situations are not always clear.   In determining whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor the Illinois Courts will consider the following:

  • Does the business have control over (or the right to control) the manner in which you do your job, including the hours you work?  The more control the business has over the worker, the more likely the worker will be deemed an employee.  This is the most important factor the courts consider.
  • Does the business provide training to the worker?   If so, this indicates employer/employee relationship.
  • Does the business reimburse your expenses or provide you with supplies for the work you are doing? When a business has control over financial aspects of a worker’s job, it is possible that the worker should be classified as an employee.
  • Does the business withhold taxes or provide you with benefits, such as insurance, sick leave pay, or a pension plan? When a business provides benefits to a worker, that relationship tends to look like one between an employer and an employee.
  • How does the business issue payment?  An individual paid hourly or salary, on a regular schedule is more likely to be classified as an employee.  Whereas, an individual who is paid on a “per job” basis looks more like and independent contractor.

Keep in mind that there is no set formula to make this determination.  The inquiry is very fact specific.  The courts will weigh all of the factors and make this determination based on the totality of the circumstances.

Employers Must Obey the Workers’ Compensation Act

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employers cannot knowingly classify a worker as an independent contractor in order to avoid having to provide workers’ compensation benefits. Indeed, Section 26 of the Act emphasizes that the “misclassification of employees as independent contractors” can result in penalties.

If you suffered an injury while you were working and you have questions about whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, you should contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. An aggressive personal injury attorney at Woodruff Johnson & Evans can speak with you today.

Categories:
  • "I had an awesome experience with Dexter Evans!"

    "I was recently injured in an auto accident and Dexter Evans handled my case. He is the best. Awesome experience. Definitely would recommend to anyone!"

  • "They always keep in touch & are quick to respond."

    "I want to thank attorney Jon Walker for all his work on my worker's comp case. He explains everything in detail to you so you understand. Always kept in touch, you didn't have ..."

  • "I will definitely recommend them!"

    "I was injured in an auto accident and Dexter Evans handled my case. He was awesome. I will definitely recommend them to friends and family."

  • "I was very happy with the outcome of my case!"

    "A friend referred me to Woodruff Johnson & Evans. Attorney Jay Johnson explained the process so that I understood what was going on with my case. He was responsive to my ..."

  • "I was very satisfied with the results!"

    "I was referred to Woodruff Johnson & Evans by a friend who had used them in the past. Everyone I had contact with was so kind and polite. My lawyer, Jay Johnson, explained the ..."

View All Testimonials

Get Your Free Consultation

  • Please enter your First Name.
  • Please enter your Last Name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
    You entered an invalid number.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.