What rights do independent contractors have after an accident? What happens when employers misclassify an employee as an independent contractor? Nationwide, the number of independent contractor accidents is growing at a steady rate. Not so much because more people are going into business for themselves, but because more employers are classifying individuals as such to avoid paying workers' compensation and other benefits. This includes truck drivers, agricultural workers, healthcare workers, and others who are at serious risk of injury or death. Nationwide, as of the end of 2017, 6.9% of American workers were classified as independent contractors. When employers misclassify these individuals, they can face severe fines and penalties.
Employer Duty To Independent Contractors
Employers must provide a safe work environment that minimizes the risk of an independent contractor accident. This includes maintaining loading docks, ensuring truck fleets are properly maintained, completing required building maintenance, and generally taking steps to ensure the tools, machines, vehicles, and work environment don't pose an undue hazard to health and safety.
While an independent contractor's employer does not have to ensure the independent contractor won't engage in behaviors or practices that could harm themselves, they do have a duty to ensure that employees do not pose a threat to the independent contractor.
Misclassification of Independent Contractors
It is common for employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors deliberately. Employers do this to save on taxes, workers' compensation payments, and other benefits offered and paid for regular employees. In Kansas and other states, employers who deliberately misclassify independent contractors can be subject to severe fines, penalties, and potential criminal charges.
This is a growing problem in many industries, including the trucking industry. When an independent contractor accident involves a commercial motor vehicle, the consequences of such accidents can be devastating. Nationwide, it is estimated that approximately 66% of long-haul commercial motor vehicle operators are independent operators.
Liability for Independent Contractor Accidents
Liability for accidents involving independent contractors can quickly get complex. In fact, every detail in the case can influence a liability determination. When an independent contractor causes an injury to a third party, they can be liable. When the independent contractor is injured, then the property owner or the employees of the employer may be liable for the injuries, property damage, or wrongful deaths that occur. Because there are many nuances and factors to consider, it is advisable to schedule a free consultation with an attorney specializing in untangling accidents involving independent contractors in Kansas.
Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. Our firm represents individuals who are injured by independent contractors in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. We help clients understand their rights and pursue compensation for their injuries. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.