Kansas Workers’ Compensation – Employee v. Independent Contractor

Being injured or becoming ill while on the job causes an enormous amount of pain, stress, and financial responsibility.  Kansas law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.  However, if you are classified as an “independent contractor,” you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits should you be injured or become ill in the course of your employment.  For example, if a painting company hire a worker only on a contract basis (i.e., for a particular project), and that worker is injured while working on that project, this worker will likely not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

How to Determine Whether You Are an Employee or Independent Contractor

Most employers will make clear what the employment arrangement is when you are hired.  Most individuals are aware from the start that if they are considered an independent contractor, then they will likely not be eligible for the same benefits that employees are eligible for.  This does not only include workers’ compensation insurance, but also includes how employees and independent contractors receive pay differently, and how employees are typically eligible for other benefits, such as health insurance, life insurance and/or retirement plans.

Therefore, independent contractors are taking somewhat of a risk when deciding to work on a contract basis.  There are certainly positive aspects of working as an independent contractor, but it definitely takes some thinking and consideration when weighing the positive aspects with the negative aspects, especially the fact that workers’ compensation benefits are not available to independent contractors.

Misclassification of Employment Status

While the general rule in Kansas (and in most states), is that independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there are situations where an independent contractor should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  For example, if you are hired and you believe you are a true employee of the company you work for, you expect that you will be entitled to the same benefits as other employees.  However, if your employer misclassifies you as an “independent contractor,” you will be left in the dark in case you are injured or become ill while on the job.  Some employers misclassify workers inadvertently, while others may in fact choose to misclassify workers for the sole purpose of avoiding the obligation to provide workers’ compensation benefits or other employee benefits.

Because the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor may not be as clear cut as you think, you would benefit from speaking with a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney who can evaluate your situation in detail to determine if you truly are an employee or independent contractor.  If it turns out that your employer misclassified your employment arrangement, listing you as an independent contractor instead of listing you as an employee, you still may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  The sooner you are able to speak with an attorney, the sooner you will be able to resolve the matter and hopefully receive the compensation you deserve. 

Contact Kansas City Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured or become ill while on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  To determine if you qualify for benefits, it is essential that you consult with a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.  With the help of a skilled and dedicated Kansas workers’ compensation attorney, you will have a better understanding of what you may or may not be entitled to, based on your classification as either an employee or an independent contractor.  Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping injured workers receive the compensation they deserve.   To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA today by calling (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.