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Do Contract Workers Get Workers’ Comp?

Posted in Workers' Compensation Laws on June 28, 2023

Choosing to become an independent contractor or performing any kind of contract work can bring a worker a certain amount of freedom. Unfortunately, independent contractors do not receive the same types of benefits that actual employees do. This can be particularly detrimental when it comes to workplace injuries. Actual independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation in Arizona unless their employer specifically says that they will pay for that benefit.

True Contractors Will Not Get Workers’ Compensation

Individuals who are independent contractors are essentially separate businesses from who they are providing services. There are various ways that independent contractors contribute to businesses throughout Arizona. One of the most common and abundant examples revolves around the construction industry. 

At a single construction site, there will likely be an overall construction company in charge of the location. But there will also likely be dozens of separate contractors, each their own entity, providing services at the site. Some workers will be employed by the construction company in charge, but there will be many others around that are not actual employees but rather contractors.

However, the construction industry does not have a monopoly on contractors. Contract work can be found in every single industry, including rideshare services, delivery drivers, office work, janitorial services, etc.

It is important to understand that contractors and freelancers in Arizona are not typically going to receive or be entitled to unemployment benefits, health benefits, or workers’ compensation benefits. Employers are not required to provide these types of benefits to non-employees.

However, there are times when employers in Arizona intentionally misclassify those who should be employees as contractors in order to avoid paying these additional benefits that employees typically receive. An employer could wrongly deny workers’ compensation benefits after a person has sustained an on-the-job injury. If you believe that you have been wrongly denied benefits by being misclassified as a contractor instead of an employee, you need to reach out to a skilled work injury lawyer today.

Filing a Third-Party Lawsuit

Even if you have been classified as a contractor, this does not mean you have no options when it comes to recovering compensation after a workplace injury. Even though you may not be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits (assuming you have been classified correctly by the employer), you will likely still be able to file a lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault party.

The main difference between recovering compensation through this route is that you will have to prove that the other party was negligent in order to receive compensation. This process is much different than the no-fault system in place under workers’ compensation laws.

If you think you may be able to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit after a workplace injury in Arizona, you should reach out to a Phoenix workplace injury lawyer who can assist you with this entire process. One benefit of a successful third-party civil personal injury lawsuit is that you may be able to recover more compensation than you otherwise would have through a workers’ compensation claim. This includes complete compensation for medical bills as well as total recovery of lost wages if you are unable to work, compensation for property damage expenses, as well as payment of emotional and psychological pain and suffering damages.