In many work settings, independent contractors play a vital role in completing projects and in some cases, keeping a business operational. There are numerous contractors and subcontractors that work on a major construction project, for example. And many companies call in contractors regularly to do various tasks, such as wiring, plumbing, and computer/IT work.
The business – independent contractor relationship differs from the employee – employer relationship in some significant ways. Companies most often hire contractors for a specific project or to perform a certain ongoing task, and they are usually paid per job rather than hourly or on a salary like a typical employee. In addition, the company usually does not provide benefits such as health insurance and a 401(k) plan to independent contractors.
One area that can become confusing with businesses and their relationship with independent contractors is when the contractor gets hurt on the job. Determining who is legally responsible for the injury can be difficult and challenging because of the number of parties that could potentially be involved and other complexities that are usually present with these types of cases.
If you are an independent contractor who has been injured on the job in Jackson, Mobile, or other nearby Alabama communities, you may not be certain how to go about recovering compensation for your injuries. The best place to start is to contact the experienced workplace injury lawyers at Hedge Copeland. We can provide a free consultation to review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. Call our office today at (251) 432-8844.
Who is Responsible for an Independent Contractor Injury in Alabama?
As we touched on earlier, injury cases involving independent contractors can get complicated largely because of the number of parties that could be involved. These may include:
The Company That Hired the Contractor
Entities that hire contractors can be found liable for injuries the contractor sustains in certain circumstances. For example, if the contractor was hired to do work that is considered “inherently dangerous” and the company failed to warn the contractor of these hazards and take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks, then they may very well be on the hook for any resulting injuries. Companies might also be held responsible if an injury (to an independent contractor) is caused by the negligent actions of one of their employees.
The Property Owner
In some cases, the owner of the property where work is being performed could be the one responsible for an injury to an independent contractor. For example, if a homeowner hires a contractor to do some repairs but fails to warn them about dangerous conditions in the area of the property where they are doing the work, then damages might have to be paid to the contractor out of the owner’s property insurance policy. This might also be the case if the homeowner hires a contractor who was unlicensed and does not have insurance of their own.
Other Contractors and Subcontractors
In situations where there are several different contractors and subcontractors working alongside each other on a project, the fault could lie with one of the other independent contractors/subcontractors if the injury was caused by their negligent actions. As mentioned previously, this is a common scenario with large construction projects.
Faulty Product Makers
Many independent contractors work with heavy equipment and machinery that can be dangerous if something (within the machine) goes wrong. If a machinery malfunction causes an injury to a contractor and the problem is traced back to an inherent design or manufacturing flaw, then it may be possible to file a product liability claim against the parties within the product’s supply chain.
The Contractor Who Was Injured
If the independent contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured and there are no other parties whose negligence caused the injury, then the contractor’s own insurance might be the one that needs to cover it. This is one of the issues that the injured contractor should discuss with an attorney.
Suffered a Workplace Injury in Alabama? Contact Hedge Copeland for Assistance
For experienced legal guidance with independent contractor injuries and other types of workplace injuries in Jackson, Mobile, and throughout Alabama, contact Hedge Copeland today. Message us online or call us at (251) 432-8844 to set up your free consultation and case assessment.