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Can Independent Contractors Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Washington State?

In Washington State, the vast majority of employers are legally obligated to provide no-fault workers’ compensation insurance to their workers. As stated by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, this type of insurance provides injured workers with coverage for approved medical treatment and services, and for financial compensation for the time that they were forced to miss work. You can qualify for these benefits if you are an employee who was injured on the job or developed a work-related disability or illness.

Independent Contractors Do Not Qualify, But Many Workers are Misclassified

Independent contractors are not covered by the State’s workers’ compensation program. However, that is not the end of the story. This is because in the state of Washington your employer does not simply get to check a box regarding your proper classification. Whether or not you are an ‘independent contractor’ is a fact-based determination.

If an employer is labeling you an independent contractor, that is largely irrelevant. You be misclassified as an independent contractor, and you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Below, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys in Seattle highlight the most important things that you need to know about the Washington independent contractor tests.

Understanding Employee Classification in Washington

Under Washington State law, employers are not allowed to simply list workers as independent contractors and call it a day. All workers must be properly classified.

There are several factors to consider in determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. In general, if the essence of the work is the worker’s personal labor and the employer has the right to control the manner in which the work is performed, the worker is likely an employee entitled to workers’ compensation insurance (RCW 51.08.180).

Some of the factors used to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor are listed in RCW 51.08.195, including:

  1. Whether the individual is free from the control and/or direction of the employer;
  2. Whether the individual performs services outside the employer’s usual course of business;
  3. Whether the individual is customarily engaged in an independent business or trade;
  4. Whether the individual has established an account with the department of revenue;
  5. Whether the individual maintains a separate set of books

Unfortunately, many employers in Washington are attempting to classify workers as independent contractors when they are really employees under Washington State law. This tactic saves the employer money.

If You Were Injured on the Job in Seattle and Misclassified as an Independent Contractor, You May Have Recourse </h2
All workers in the state of Washington need to understand that they are not necessarily excluded from workers’ compensation coverage when the employer insists they are independent contractors.

If you were injured at your workplace, and you believe that you were inappropriately labeled as an independent contractor, you should consult with one of our skilled Seattle workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. You have limited time to take action. Further, your specific legal claim is likely to be more complex than most. A qualified work injury lawyer will be able to review your case to determine if you have any recourse against your employer or any third party whose negligence may have contributed to your injury. You need to explore all of your available options for recovery.

Contact Our Seattle Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today

At The Walthew Law Firm, our workers’ compensation lawyers have extensive experience handling complex work injury claims, including those involving misclassified independent contractors, we are standing by, ready to review your case.

For a free, no obligation review of your work injury claim, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today. We have offices in Everett and Seattle, and we represent injured workers throughout the region, including in Tacoma, Bellevue, Olympia, Puyallup, Kent, Federal Way, and Renton.

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