Independent contractors are workers whom an employer contracts to perform work for someone else. For example, a roofer may form an agreement with a roofing company to fix the roof of a company client. Under these arrangements, the independent contractor is not technically an employee. Unfortunately, this means if an independent contractor suffers injuries on the job, the employer can avoid paying out workers’ compensation. Instead, an independent contractor may look to alternative routes for compensation.
As a recent news article reported, a paper mill worker suffered from several injuries after falling from a roof in Skowhegan, Maine. Officials believe the person was an independent contractor fixing a piece of equipment on top of the building’s roof. The local fire department assisted with rescuing the person, who was transported to the hospital for multiple injuries. The accident comes on the heels of another subcontractor’s tragic death in the same town. The subcontractor was working at a different mill when he suddenly collapsed.
Can Independent Contractors Recover Workers’ Compensation?
If independent contractors suffer injuries on the job, they generally cannot recover workers’ compensation against the entity that contracted them for the job. Independent contractors must have workers’ compensation insurance for any employees they hire, but independent contractors themselves often do not receive workers’ compensation. Maine law presumes all workers are employees for workers’ compensation purposes. However, employers can escape that presumption by proving their workers are independent contractors who will not receive workers’ compensation for injuries on the job. Unfortunately, this arrangement is all too common. Employers save money by avoiding workers’ compensation insurance and payouts, leaving their workers with no recourse if they suffer injuries that impede their ability to earn a living. However, independent contractors can recover workers’ compensation if they can show the employer misclassified them as independent contractors rather than an employees.
Can Independent Contractors Recover Damages for Workplace Injuries?
Workers’ compensation bars covered employees from suing their employers. On the other hand, independent contractors who do not receive workers’ compensation may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages for injuries they suffered on the job. First, a worker may be able to recover if the employer’s negligent action or inaction led to the worker’s injuries, such as a lack of adequate protection. Second, a worker may be able to sue a third party other than the employer. For example, if workers suffer injuries after repairing someone’s property, they may be able to sue the property owner for dangerous conditions of the property. Alternatively, if a worker suffers injuries after using a certain product to complete a job, the worker may sue the manufacturer for product liability, such as a manufacturing or design defect. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you sort through these complex laws and understand your options for recovery.
Have You Suffered a Maine Workplace Injury?
If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury in Maine, contact the attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates to discuss your case. Our attorneys have experience in both workers’ compensation and personal injury lawsuits. No matter the basis for your claim, you can be sure our team will pursue it with the utmost dedication and skill. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team, call 800-804-2004.