Last Updated: October 26, 2022

Can I Get Workers Comp If I Am Not An Employee? Independent Contractor?

Employee and Independent Contractor

In this article, I would answer a widespread question, Can I get workers comp if I'm not an employee? You've probably read in other articles that if you are an employee, injured in the course and scope of your employment, that you're entitled to workers comp benefits in the state of Illinois. If you are designated employee and they're paying you as an employee, you're definitely an employee for workers comp purposes.

The short answer is, technically if you are not an employee you're not entitled to comp right. But here's a wrinkle that I see all the time. You see it a lot in trucking or in the trades or like laborers, they work for somebody and basically, the employer tells the worker;

Oh it's better for you, it's better for me, just register as an independent contractor. Meaning you're not an employee, you have your own company and you just subcontract for me.

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It Is Against The Law

It is cheaper for the employer to have employees do that, but it's against the law. The real issue is that, under workers comp and under Illinois law, it doesn't matter what you think you are or what the boss calls you. So the boss can say "No you're an independent contractor, you're not an employee" it doesn't matter.

Factors To Consider That You Are An Employee

If the boss controls how you do your work. And when you do your work, you have set hours, you use the company's equipment, you show up at the company's facility, you do the company's work the way the company tells you, and you're supervised by people at the company. These are all factors that the court looks at and it is pretty common at the Illinois workers comp Commission for a judge to say yes.

You're an employee, even though you're registered as an independent contractor. You're an employee for purposes of whether you get workers comp benefits. That was a little bit confusing but the truth, is even if you think you're an independent contractor you may be an employee and your employer may be forced to give you comp benefits.

You Must Be An Employee To Get Comp Benefits

I was just going to talk about the analogy I was going to use. Let's say you're in a store and you get hurt, you fall down. If you're a customer at the store you would have a third-party case that would be a regular lawsuit. But if you're an employee at the store, you are entitled to workers comp. You have to be an employee to get comp benefits, I guess is my point so hopefully that clarifies the matter for you.

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