Injured on the Job, an Attorney for the Self-Employed
With a few exceptions, employers must provide workers compensation insurance coverage for all of their employees. This ensures that an employee injured on the job can receive compensation. Self-employed people, on the other hand, do not usually need to buy workers compensation insurance. However, self-employed people can still get injured on the job. Do they have any options when this happens? Often, yes.
Workers Compensation for the Self Employed
State workers compensation laws generally exempt sole proprietors without employees from coverage requirements. Even when required to carry the insurance on employees, the law often allows the owner to exclude him- or herself from the policy. However, the laws do not ban self-employed individuals from purchasing their own workers compensation policies.
A policy can be expensive, and many carriers do not sell to individuals. However, if your business is one in which you visit client job sites and face a risk of injury, it can be worth getting yourself covered. This is especially true in industries with a high risk of injury, such as construction.
Some employers will even require independent contractors to carry workers compensation on themselves. This protects the employer from liability in case of an injury.
Injury Attorney for the Self Employed
In some cases, you may be able to file suit to recover damages after being injured on the job, especially if negligence was involved. If a third party was responsible for your injury, you may also be able to pursue a personal injury case against that person or company. An example might be the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment you were using at your clients' job site.
A personal injury attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine if you may be able to recover some of these damages:
- Lost income
- Lost profits
- Loss of earning ability
- Lost business opportunities
Unfortunately, these can be difficult to prove, and you will probably need to provide several years worth of tax returns, along with year-to-date financial statements. You may also need to provide correspondence with potential clients and/or your calendar of appointments to show lost opportunities. Your attorney can help you decide what documentation will best prove your case.
If you are self-employed, start thinking now about what would happen if you were injured on the job, especially if the injury caused permanent disability. Whether you are planning ahead or have already been injured, an attorney experienced with personal injury claims for self-employed people can help you evaluate your options.