When you’ve been hurt on the job, the first thing you want to do is notify your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim? But what if you’re not on the company’s payroll? Maybe you’re paid off the books, so the company can avoid payroll taxes. Maybe the company wrongfully considers you an independent contractor, a fairly common way that employers try to avoid responsibility for paying workers’ compensation claims.

If you are simply paid off the books, you will always have the opportunity to collect workers’ compensation benefits from the employer. If you meet all the tests to be an employee, other than being on the payroll, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as long as two conditions are met: you were working for the company and your injury occurred at work.

If you have been designated as an independent contractor, the situation becomes a little more complicated. The IRS has a test to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. The workers’ compensation judge will typically look at the test and see whether you meet the criteria for being an employee. If you do, you can file a workers’ compensation claim, regardless of how the employer classifies you. The workers’ compensation board generally won’t let an employer avoid responsibility for a work-related injury simply by calling an employee an independent contractor.

If, however, you meet the test to qualify as an independent contractor, you won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits unless you can show fraud or misrepresentation by the employer. For example, if you were led to believe that you were an employee, there’s a good chance you will be treated as such.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured workers throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.