Workers’ compensation insurance is purchased by employers for the benefit of employees. So, what happens if you are self-employed or an independent contractor? Many construction workers are subcontractors or independent from the general contractor and so are not protected by workers’ compensation purchased by the general contractor. Are these subcontractors out of luck? What options are available to them? This article will go over those options and how you can protect yourself as an independent contractor.
As an independent contractor, you have two options if you are injured on the job. First, you can get your own workers’ compensation insurance. Second, you can sue the general contractor that hired you.
Construction is a highly physical and very high-risk job. The chances of you getting injured are much higher than other independent contractors, like freelance sketch artists. So getting your own insurance to cover you is probably a good idea. Construction injuries could take months to heal which is months without a reliable paycheck ? if you don’t have insurance. You may have difficulty in finding an insurer to cover you because it does not make sense economically. However, most states offer insurance for the self-employed if you are unable to procure private insurance. Check out your state department of labor for further information.
If you choose not to get insurance, you could always go the traditional route and sue the general contractor. In the most generic terms, general contractors are liable for the injuries their subcontractors incur while on the job. If your general contractor is liable, then it means you may be able to settle the case relatively quickly, or your general contractor may have purchased a policy that covers subcontractors like yourself.
If you were injured while working, then you may want to contact an attorney. Self-employment does not mean that you are without job protection. There are options for everyone that risks injury on the job. Don’t stay out in the cold because you don’t have a boss to get workers’ compensation for you.