Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Explain the Difference Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor

October 08, 2015

One of the most important things when it comes to a Georgia workers' compensation claim is the status of the injured or ill worker at the time the workplace injury or illness occurred. This is often a disputed matter, as some workers are considered "employees," while other workers are considered "independent contractors." While an employee's work status may not seem that important when both an employee and independent contractor may be performing the exact same job duties for the same employer, this distinction is extremely important if an injured or ill worker wants to pursue workers' compensation benefits.

Employee v. Independent Contractor

Many workers across Georgia are classified as employees and not independent contractors. An employee is hired by an employer to work for, and act on behalf of, the employer, and often has taxes withheld from his or her paycheck. An independent contractor essentially works for him or herself, performing work for an employer on a contract basis. Independent contractors who perform work for an employer might be paid with a general check that does not withhold taxes, much like payment for an invoice. However, it isn't always easy to determine what the difference is, especially because the role of an employee and independent contractor can be virtually the same.

A California driver who was injured while on the job was an independent contractor for the company "Uber," which is a ride-sharing service that allows customers to find a driver using a phone application. According to an online news report, this driver was initially denied benefits because he was considered an independent contractor and not a true employee of Uber. However, a recent ruling on this particular case in California established that the injured man was considered an employee, and therefore might be entitled to benefits.

It is important to keep in mind that the California incident only applies to this particular Uber driver under California's laws. However, this story is important for all Georgia workers to be aware that whether or not they are an employee or independent contractor can be a key factor when determining whether or not such workers are entitled to workers' compensation or other benefits. Given that each worker will have a unique situation, speaking with a workers' compensation attorney about a workplace injury or illness is the best place to start, especially in cases where a worker's status as an "employee" or "independent contractor" is unclear.

Your classification as an employee or independent contractor is very important when determining whether or not you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits as a result of a workplace injury or illness. Employers are not always clear when it comes to explaining how workers' compensation benefits might only be available to those classified as employees. All cases are different, so it is difficult to know immediately following a workplace injury or illness whether or not the injured or ill individual will be entitled to benefits. Because Georgia workers' compensation laws can be confusing, it is important that you or your loved one consider contacting a legal professional as soon as possible to discuss your situation.  An attorney can investigate the facts and circumstances of your case as well as take the necessary steps to protect your rights.

Our Law Firm Has Been Representing Injured Workers For Over 30 Years!

Our personal injury and Atlanta workers compensation lawyers provide aggressive representation, including workers' compensation claims, personal injury claims, and those who have developed asbestos-related diseases. Because we have successfully represented thousands of injured people in personal injury cases, workers' compensation claims and families in wrongful death claims, we understand the physical, emotional and fiscal hardships faced by victims, and also what needs to be done to obtain for our clients the compensation they are entitled to under the law.

Montlick and Associates has been representing injured workers for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

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Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.