Are Independent Contractors Covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Legal document Independent Contractor Agreement on paper close up - independent contractor workers comp attorney concept

Workers’ Compensation is required for all businesses in Washington State that have one or more employees. Commonly referred to as “Workers’ Comp,” or “L&I” benefits, this insurance provides compensation for benefits like medical bills and lost wages to employees who are injured on the job. However, if you are self-employed, you might be wondering, “Does Workers’ Comp cover independent contractors?” In many cases, a worker who is classified as an independent contractor might qualify for these benefits if they are injured while working.

Who is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

In Washington State, all workers are presumed to be covered by Workers’ Compensation unless they fall into one of several narrow exceptions. Specifically, these benefits do not apply to sole proprietors, certain domestic workers in private homes, entertainers, for-hire vehicle operators, cosmetologists, and various others.

Whether L&I (Labor & Industries) benefits apply to independent contractors can be complicated. Importantly, an employer simply classifying a worker as an “independent contractor” does not necessarily mean they are exempt from obtaining Workers’ Compensation in the event of an injury on-the-job. Many workers are misclassified as independent contractors either intentionally or inadvertently by their employers — and they may actually qualify for L&I benefits if a workplace accident or occupational disease arises.

Significantly, a contract does not necessarily determine employment status when it comes to filing an L&I claim. In addition, being sent a tax form 1099 does not always mean a worker is an independent contractor. While these scenarios may provide certain evidence regarding the employment relationship, they are not conclusive for the purpose of determining whether Washington Workers’ Compensation applies in the event of an injury in the workplace.

Contact an Experienced Washington Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Understanding whether you qualify for Workers’ Compensation as an independent contractor can be complex. It is essential to have a knowledgeable attorney by your side who can stand up for your rights and ensure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled for your workplace injuries. The Bellingham Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Robinson & Kole provide skillful counsel to injured workers throughout Washington State and strive to obtain the best possible results in each case. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 800.640.5616 or by using our online contact form. Se habla Español.