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What Are Your Options if You’re Injured as a Gig Worker?

The gig economy has impacted the number of people finding work and generating income. As many as 36% of the U.S. workforce, or roughly 57 million Americans, participate in this gig economy.

From freelancing to independently contracting in areas like construction, you can now get paid for your services outside the traditional employment model. While this work structure has benefits, like picking your hours and clients, it comes with complications if you suffer an injury when performing the job.

Learn your options for compensation if you’re injured as a gig worker in Wisconsin and how an Appleton workers’ compensation lawyer can review your situation and help you get the benefits and compensation you are entitled to.

Are Gig Workers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Under Wisconsin’s employment law, gig workers aren’t considered employees of businesses. Instead, they are classified as independent contractors, which means companies treat them as independent business entities.

As a contractor, you are classified using a Form 1099-MISC rather than a standard Form W-2 and aren’t entitled to benefits like health insurance or workers’ compensation. To qualify for workers’ comp in the state, you must:

  • Be classified as an employee, which usually means your hours and duties are controlled by the employer
  • Suffer an injury or illness while performing job duties

If you’re a gig worker, freelancer, or contractor, you likely don’t meet these criteria and are excluded from employee protections like workers’ compensation coverage. If you’re hurt while performing your job, you must rely on your health insurance or pay for your injuries out-of-pocket.

When Might You Meet Workers’ Comp Eligibility?

You may meet the eligibility requirements for workers’ comp as a gig worker if you are misclassified as an independent contractor. Misclassification can happen in various circumstances, such as:

  • An employer’s lack of understanding of labor laws leading to incorrect classification
  • Deliberate avoidance of payroll taxes and the costs associated with employee benefits
  • Ambiguous job descriptions that do not clearly define employee status
  • Errors in employment contracts or paperwork that incorrectly label workers
  • Insufficient legal or human resources oversight to correctly classify workers

If your attorney can provide an employer intentionally or mistakenly classified you incorrectly and you meet the definition of an employee, you may be able to file for workers’ comp.

At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, we can look at the following to determine if you were misclassified and help you seek entitled workers’ comp benefits for your injury.

  • How much control and supervision the company exerts over you
  • Whether you have a set schedule and hours or you can make your own schedule
  • Whether you supply your equipment and materials or if the company provides them
  • Whether you provide services only for this company or for multiple entities

Your benefits as an injured employee include coverage for all associated medical costs, two-thirds of your average weekly wage, disability payments, and vocational training.

Compensation Options for Injured Gig Workers

If you don’t meet the workers’ comp qualifications, you can still seek financial support for your injuries as an independent contractor. Your attorney at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help you explore the following options:

  • Disability Insurance: If you have private disability insurance, you can file a claim to access your policy benefits. Depending on the terms of your policy, this can help cover partial wage replacement, medical and rehabilitation costs, lump-sum payments for specific diagnoses, cost-of-living adjustments, and support your transition back to work at a reduced capacity.
  • Personal Injury Lawsuit: You can pursue legal action if someone else’s reckless behavior or negligence caused your injuries. For instance, you are driving to pick up groceries for an Instacart order when another car runs a red light and hits you. We can help you file an auto insurance claim or lawsuit to receive damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Get the Right Compensation for Your Injuries

Being injured in an accident in the gig economy can create stressful complications, employment questions, and concerns about benefits. Our experienced attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can provide the legal representation you need.

We can review the specifics of your employment situation and help you pursue all available compensation options under Wisconsin law. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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