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Not On the Company Payroll?

You May Still Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Not On the Company PayrollIt’s a fairly common practice among employers—hire workers who aren’t on the payroll, call them “independent contractors,” and then refuse to pay workers’ compensation benefits when they are injured on the job. If your employer is not withholding taxes for you, is paying you cas or otherwise paying you “under the table,” are you prohibited from collecting workers’ compensation benefits? Not necessarily.

In New Jersey, there are only two requirements to establish eligibility for workers’ compensation payments. You must have been injured and the injury must have occurred during the course of your work. The mere fact that you were not on the company payroll will not automatically disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation.

The law in New Jersey is clear, though, that independent contractors must provide their own coverage for work-related injuries. However, there are fairly rigid tests for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. You won’t be deemed an independent contractor, simply because the company says you are.

The Tests for Establishing Independent Contractor Status

When assessing whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, the court will generally consider:

  • The nature of your relationship—An oral statement may not suffice, but a written contract will carry some legal weight (it may not be dispositive, though). If you receive other benefits, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll be considered an employee. The more permanent your relationship, the more likely you’ll be construed as an employee. The same is true if the services you provide are essential to the regular business of the company.
  • The extent to which the company controls your behavior—Does the company train you? Do you get most or all of your direction from company employees? Are you subject to performance evaluations, quotas or penalties? How much control do you have over your time, including overtime?
  • Who manages and controls the financial components of the business? Did you make personal investments for equipment or tools? Are you reimbursed for business expenses? Who has the risk of loss or the potential for profit?

Contact Attorney Howard D. Popper

To learn your options when you have been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, contact our office online or call attorney Popper at 973-993-8787. We have offices in Morristown and Newton, but will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no charge for your first consultation.

We handle all mass transit accident and injury claims on a contingency basis. You won’t be charged any legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.