In North Carolina, you’re eligible for compensation for your work-related injuries if your employer has three or more employees. That’s because North Carolina mandates such employers to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or be self-insured for the same purpose. Whenever you sustain work-related injuries, your Charlotte workers’ comp lawyer can help with your claims.
However, not every North Carolina worker is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. For example, the law expressly excludes employees of specific railroads, federal government employees, household-employed domestic servants, and others. Eligible employers who fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage risk steep penalties, including fines, felony charges, and jail terms.
North Carolina also makes a distinction between employees and independent contractors. While employees are qualified for workers’ compensation, independent contractors are not. So, before filing a work comp claim in the state, it’s essential to determine where you fall under. This article will help you discover if you’re an employee or independent contractor for workers’ compensation purposes in North Carolina.
Am I an Employee or Independent Contractor in North Carolina?
Generally, employees work as part and parcel of the business or company, while independent contractors have their private businesses. Independent contractors only provide specific services to another business for a fee. Independent contractors are self-employed. Employers only hire them for short periods and have less control over their activities than employees.
Unfortunately, that definition is too simplistic and gives rise to more confusion. To accurately determine whether you’re an employee or a contractor, you must consider these factors:
Nature and Degree of Control
Employers exercise a significant degree of control over their employees’ jobs continuously. Meanwhile, independent contractors control how they perform their tasks. Employers’ control over their work, if any, is minimal. However, working from home isn’t a determining factor when considering an employer’s degree of authority under this point.
Hours of Work
Employees work at standard times set by the employer. However, independent contractors have the luxury of determining when to work. The employer may only give them a timeframe to complete their tasks. Employees have the potential of being in the employer’s employment for many years. They may only leave their job upon retirement, resignation, or a sack. On the other hand, contractors only work for the duration of their tasks.
Employees are entitled to paid leaves and other fringe benefits. Independent contractors don’t get leaves from employers.
Independent Ownership of Tools and Equipment
Employees usually make use of tools that their employers provide. They may also undergo specific training in their course of employment that their employers sponsor. Independent contractors, however, own their tools and equipment since they are in private business. In addition, they’re responsible for their training.
Method of Payment
Employees receive salaries and wages at specific periods and intervals. Many times, they receive their payments weekly or monthly. Independent contractors usually accept their payments after completing particular tasks.
In an employer/employee relationship, the employer bears all the financial risks regarding the business. However, the independent contractor may make profits or losses on specific tasks depending on the circumstances.
What Happens When a North Carolina Independent Contractor Sustains a Work-Related Injury?
Generally, independent contractors aren’t entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. That means that in many cases, they’re liable for any injuries they sustain when working. Usually, independent contractors protect themselves through personal insurance coverage. That ensures that they don’t get stranded whenever they sustain work injuries.
However, the mere fact that an employer classifies you as an independent contractor doesn’t mean you’re one. Many employers try to misrepresent their employees as independent contractors by making them sign documents to that effect. This is workers’ compensation fraud, a serious offense in North Carolina. Your Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys can help you fight it.
Also, it’s important to note that the determining factors above aren’t foolproof. Regardless of those factors, your employment status still largely depends on your case’s specifics. So, even if you think that you’re an independent contractor, you may be wrong. Only due consultation with your work comp lawyer in Charlotte, NC, can help you verify your status.
Seek Legal Assistance From Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Now!
To ensure your eligibility for workers’ compensation in North Carolina, it’s essential to consult an experienced attorney. Sometimes, your employer can erroneously tag you as an independent contractor instead of the employee you are. Your workers’ compensation lawyer can insist on your rights in such situations.
Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte are the most experienced you can find in North Carolina. We understand your pains and can ensure that you get justice through a stress-free process. We’ll bear your burdens every step of the way. Contact us immediately for a free case review.