What is an Independent Contractor under the Workers Compensation Act and how does it impact a claim?
Miss. Code Ann. § 71-3-3 (r) states that “Independent contractor” means any individual, firm or corporation who contracts to do a piece of work according to his own methods without being subject to the control of his employer except as to the results of the work, and who has the right to employ and direct the outcome of the workers independent of the employer and free from any superior authority in the employer to say how the specified work shall be done or what the laborers shall do as the work progresses, one who undertakes to produce a given result without being in any way controlled as to the methods by which he attains the result.
What does this really mean and why does it matter? If you are an independent contractor, in some cases you are not entitled to workers compensation from the person who hired you. For example, if a private individual hires you to come paint their house, and you bring all the tools and set your own schedule, odds are you are an independent contractor and not entitled to workers compensation from that resident. On the other hand, if you are a painter for a large construction company that tells you when to be there and provides you with the tools to do the job, odds are that you will be covered by that constructions company’s comp coverage even though they called you “independent.”
There are many examples that could go either way. If you or a loved one have been hurt and labeled as “independent” and not entitled to coverage, you should contact our office for a free consultation. The morale to the story is that it DOES NOT matter whether you are called independent or not. What does matter is who was controlling the work that was done.