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Independent Contractor? Will You Be Denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Under the workers’ compensation laws in New York, there are generally two requirements to qualify for benefits—you must have been injured and the injury must have occurred while you were working for the company from whom you seek workers’ compensation benefits. In most instances, as an independent contractor, you won’t be eligible to obtain workers’ compensation payments because you are not legally considered an employee.

However, many companies wrongfully misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid responsibility for workers’ compensation and tax withholding. Your potential workers’ compensation claim will not be denied simply because your employee alleges that you were an independent contractor. Instead, the Workers’ Compensation Board or judge will typically look at a number of factors to determine whether your relationship was actually one of employer-employee. If so, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Among the factors that will taken into account are such things as

  • The amount of control the company has over you, your time and your assignments
  • Whether you can subcontract or hire out some of the work
  • The level of expertise and initiative you bring and take
  • The permanency of your position
  • Where you work and who provides the tools of your trade
  • Whether the work is an essential part of the company’s business

At Pyrros & Serres, we successfully represented a push cart vendor in New York City who was injured on the job, but who was initially denied workers’ compensation benefits because his employer alleged that he was an independent contractor. We were able to show the workers’ compensation judge that the nature of the relationship between the push cart vendor and the company from who he sought benefits was an employer-employee relationship, entitling him to workers’ compensation.

Independent Contractor? Will You Be Denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Experienced NYC | Brooklyn | Bronx | Queens Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we handle all matters related to workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims for people in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.

To learn more about the full scope of our practice, see our practice area overview page.

Pyrros & Serres LLP

Queens | NYC | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Attorneys



About The Author

Picture of Michael Serres, ESQ.

Michael Serres, ESQ.

Michael Serres, ESQ. is a reputed Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Astoria, Queens, NY. He graduated from St. John’s University School of Law in 1989. Mr. Serres was admitted to practice law in New York State in 1990 and is admitted in the Federal District Courts for the Southern and the Eastern Districts of New York. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Workers’ Compensation Bar Association and is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Queens County Bar Association.