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Contractors and workers’ compensation

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Like other states, New York’s workers’ compensation laws require employers to make sure that their employees have their workplace injuries covered through workers’ compensation insurance or some other legal mechanism.

However, New York’s laws do not extend to a business’s independent contractors. An independent contractor is expected to find their own way to cover any work-related injuries.

However, just because a resident of New York City believes that they are a contractor, or if a business has told them as much, it does not make it so.

For the purposes of New York’s workers’ compensation program, whether a person is an employee or contractor will depend on how much control the business has over the employer’s work. Generally, the less control an employer exercises, the more likely a worker is an independent contractor.

It is quite possible for a person to be an independent contractor for tax and unemployment purposes but to be an employee with respect to whether they can claim benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses.

The question of whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor is fact sensitive. Ultimately, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board makes the decision on whether a person is an employee. If they are, then they are eligible for benefits.

Workers can dispute claim denials based on employment status or other grounds

The bottom line is that even if a person legally is not on a company’s payroll, they should not assume they cannot get workers’ compensation benefits through the company.

The same holds true if an injured worker receives a claim denial on other grounds. Companies and the insurers who cover them are not always correct when they deny a claim, and a New York worker may have to advocate for their right to benefits.