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Can Independent Contractors Get Workers’ Compensation?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

When determining a person’s eligibility for workers’ compensation, it’s important to determine whether he or she is an employee or an independent contractor. Employees are eligible for worker’s compensation in Illinois—independent contractors are not. However, depending on the circumstances, some independent contractors may be considered employees under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, thereby making them eligible for worker’s compensation following an injury. In this article, we discuss whether independent contractors can get workers’ compensation in Illinois. 

What is an Independent Contractor?

An independent contractor is a self-employed person who is hired by a company to perform specific tasks without being officially hired as an employee. An individual is an independent contractor if an employer has only the limited right to control or direct the result of the contractor’s work, but has no control over the method by which the work will be done. 

Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Although independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation in Illinois, employees are sometimes misclassified as independent contractors. In fact, companies sometimes purposely misclassify individuals as independent contractors to save money. Factors to consider when attempting to distinguish between an independent contractor and employee are:

  • Whether the worker was exclusively bound to the employer.
  • Whether the employer took taxes out of the worker’s checks.
  • Whether the employer provided a uniform to the worker.
  • Whether the employer provided tools or other materials to the worker.
  • Whether the worker set his or her own hours or was given a schedule.
  • Whether the worker was free to decide how to approach the job.

Determining if You Are an Independent Contractor 

If you’ve recently been injured at work, and any of the following conditions apply to you, it’s possible that you are an independent contractor and ineligible for workers’ compensation in Illinois:

  • You had the freedom to set your own work hours.
  • Your approach to finishing the job was left completely to your own discretion.
  • You haven’t had any taxes taken out of your paychecks for the job.  
  • You pay self-employment taxes.
  • You used only your own equipment and materials to complete the job.

Hire an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney 

If you’ve been injured on the job in Illinois, you should consult with an attorney to determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Even if you’ve been told by your employer that you are an independent contractor, you should still consult with an attorney to determine whether workers’ compensation will cover your injuries. At Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, LLC, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help you obtain full compensation for your injuries. When you come to us for assistance, we will do everything we can to ensure that you are properly compensated for your work-related injuries. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.