I Am an Independent Contractor in California: Can I File for Workers’ Comp Benefits if Injured While at Work?

Employers in California and throughout the United States are increasingly relying on the contributions of independent contractors. You may be wondering: Can I file for workers’ comp benefits if I am hurt while working as an independent contractor? The short answer is “no”—independent contractors are not covered by workers’ comp. However, there are key qualifiers that you need to be aware of. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation lawyer explains the central points that independent contractors need to understand about their rights and options in California.

What is an Independent Contractor?

Broadly defined, an independent contractor is a person who provides services to others—usually a business or an organization—but who works for themselves and not as an employee of that company. In other words, they often have their own business and decide when and where they work. The distinction matters. Independent contractors are different from employees in many different ways. They do not have taxes withheld, and they do not receive the same benefits, including workerscompensation coverage. An independent contractor is not covered by workers’ comp.

California has Strict Labor Regulations: Proper Worker Classification is a Must

Employers cannot simply decide to label a person as an independent contractor instead of an employee. There are strict regulations in place. The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) explains that California has some of the most comprehensive and strict laws in the country regarding worker classification. A worker can only be classified as an independent contractor if they meet certain strict criteria, such as having significant control over how they perform work/services.

Two Options for Independent Contractors Hurt While Working

For an independent contractor hurt while working in Fresno, there can be a lot of confusion over what exactly needs to be done next. Independent contractors have two broad options:

Contact Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today Joseph C. Yrulegui provides personalized, solutions-focused legal representation to injured workers. If you have any questions or concerns about workers’ comp laws and independent contractor status, we are here to help. Give us a phone call now, or connect with us online for a strictly private initial appointment. Our firm handles workers’ comp matters in Fresno, Fresno County, and all across the San Joaquin Valley and Central California.