One thing that workers' compensation doesn't cover is an independent contractor. A person working as an independent contractor is their own boss, meaning that they take on clients or work as a third-party consultant on a project. While they may work with employees or business owners, they aren't covered by the business owners' workers' compensation benefits.
When an independent contractor gets hurt on the job, it's a serious problem. They have no real way of getting compensated for their injuries through the usual channels, like workers' compensation. They have no other option but to use their own insurance and to file a claim if they've suffered injuries as a result of another person's actions.
Can employers be held liable for independent contractors' injuries?
Yes, of course they can. When a private contractor is injured on a property or while performing a job for you, they may end up being able to sue for their injuries. It is particularly likely that they will win a case against the business owner or other entity if they can show that gross negligence occurred leading up to the incident.
Here's an example. If you are working on a farm where you've been asked to repair a barn but were not informed that the structure was weak, you might begin working and suddenly fall or become trapped under damaged parts of the building. In that case, if the owner knew that the building was hazardous, they could be held grossly negligent for failing to let you know about the risks.
In a case where a worker is hurt due to gross negligence, they may be able to file a claim for pain and suffering, unemployment reimbursement, medical expenses and other losses.
It is the job of a business to make sure that independent contractors carry their own insurance and that they are licensed to do the work they're hired for. If they are hurt on the job and the business did not do their research, then it's possible that the business could be held liable for those injuries as a result of its negligence.
As an independent contractor, it's wise to carry your own insurance and to make sure it can cover you if you're hurt. If you are hurt by a third party or because of gross negligence, you may still have the right to file a personal-injury claim against another party.