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Were you denied benefits for being an independent contractor?

Let's say you show up to work at your construction job every day and work carefully alongside your colleagues – who are painters, carpenters and roofers. It looks like you’re all employees together, and the same boss pays your salary. The thing is, you’re classified as an “independent contractor," and your coworkers are “employees.”

As a result, when you fell off a scaffold and broke your leg, your employer and its insurance company tried to use the fact that you’re an independent contractor against you – as a reason not to pay for your medical care.

You’ve been at home recovering for the last month, unable to earn an income, and your financial situation is tight. Is there anything you can do to get the financial compensation you need?

The answer to this question might be yes. Depending on the facts of your case, you might be able to seek both workers’ compensation and a personal injury compensation.

Were you misclassified as an independent contractor?

Whether you’re entitled to workers’ compensation depends on whether you’re truly an independent contractor. In some cases, insurance firms will try to classify you as an independent contractor to avoid paying for your medical care.

Under state law, “independent contractors” who aren’t eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits have a precise definition. If you are currently working under the independent contractor category, it's possible a misclassification has occurred. It's also possible that you could assert legal arguments to prove that you’re an "employee" entitled to workers' compensation.

What if I can’t get reclassified?

It’s not uncommon for a New York employee to suffer from a misclassification of employment status. If you want to know if you have been denied New York workers' compensation benefits due to misclassification of your status, speak to an experienced construction accident lawyer.

However, even if you can’t get reclassified, your attorney may be able to pursue a "third-party" personal injury claim on your behalf against the party or parties responsible for the safety of the construction site.

For example, New York has special scaffold laws that allow injured construction workers to pursue personal injury claims in addition to workers’ compensation. As such, even if you really are an independent contractor, you can still investigate the possibility of seeking financial compensation for your injuries.

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Chiariello & Chiariello
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