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Can Self-Employed People Get Workers’ Compensation?

April 5, 2021

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Workers’ compensation can be a lifeline for people who get hurt on the job. Millions of Ohioans can’t miss a single paycheck without experiencing dire financial consequences, so suffering an injury that makes it difficult or impossible to work can be a disaster scenario for many families across the state.

Thankfully, almost all workers can apply for workers’ compensation benefits, even if they are partially or fully at fault for their injuries. However, there are a few exceptions to this, including self-employed workers.

Sole Proprietors, Independent Contractors, and Self-Employed Workers AREN’T Covered

Unfortunately, people who work for themselves or companies in non-employee roles aren’t covered by workers’ compensation. That’s because workers’ compensation in Ohio is paid for by insurance policies which are purchased by individual employers and businesses.

Those policies are comprehensive, but they only cover workers who are considered actual employees, whether they are full-time salary employees or even part-time seasonal employees.

What Options Do Self-Employed Workers Have If They Get Injured on the Job?

People who aren’t covered under traditional workers’ compensation benefits aren’t completely out of luck if they suffer disabling injuries while working. Their options include:

  • Purchasing short-term disability insurance—Having a short-term disability insurance policy can help you recoup some of your lost wages while you recover from your injuries. Note that this policy must be purchased BEFORE you get injured, so if you work in an occupation that puts you at risk for injuries and you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation, it’s important to get coverage as soon as possible.
  • Purchasing your own workers’ comp insurance—Just because you aren’t covered by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a policy for yourself. There are many policies available for self-employed workers and independent contractors, and these policies become mandatory for workers who expand their businesses and hire even a single employee.
  • Disputing your employment status and classification—Many workers who are classified as independent contractors should be considered full-time or part-time employees and therefore be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If your role in a company is virtually indistinguishable from roles fulfilled by actual employees, there’s a good chance you are also an employee and should be eligible for benefits, including workers’ compensation.
  • Filing a personal injury claim—Sometimes, on-the-job injuries are caused by other peoples’ negligence. When employees get hurt at work, even because of others’ reckless behavior, they typically file workers’ compensation claims. But self-employed workers can instead file personal injury claims to recoup some of their medical bills and lost wages if their injuries weren’t their fault. They also may be able to file personal injury claims against the companies they work for or with if they failed to provide safe work environments.

Our Lawyers Are Here to Help

Getting compensation after a work-related injury when you aren’t covered under an employer’s workers’ compensation policy can be frustrating. You may feel hopeless and like giving up. But many injured contractors have options for replacing their lost income.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers know what you’re going through. We know that every worker has their own story and unique background, and you shouldn’t be left paying for your bills out of pocket, especially if your position is misclassified or someone else caused your injury.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll use our vast experience, deep pool of resources, and years of success to uncover all of your options and ensure your rights are protected.

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