When you’ve suffered an injury on the job, and it seems clear that your employer was responsible, it can come as a surprise when the workers’ compensation insurance company initially denies your claim. It’s important to understand that your employer and the insurer both have a vested interest in paying you as little as possible to settle your claim. One of the more frequent defenses that many employers will use is the allegation that you weren’t really an employer, but were actually an independent contractor and should have had your own workers’ compensation insurance.

The first and most important thing to understand is that you are not an independent contractor simply because your employer alleges that you are. In fact, you may even have a contract that states you are an independent contractor, but still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits as an employee. The Workers’ Compensation Board will attempt to determine the actual nature of your work relationship, applying a number of criteria to determine your status, including:

  • The flexibility of your schedule
  • The degree to which the company determines or directs when, where and how your work is done
  • The amount of training the company provides you
  • The extent to which you are integrated into the business operations of the company
  • The requirement by the company that you perform all the work (as opposed to sub-contracting it)
  • The length or continuity of your relationship
  • Whether or not the company specifies the order in which work gets done

Another thing to remember-you can’t be denied workers’ compensation benefits just because you are an undocumented worker. Typically, there are only two requirements-that you be working for the company and that you suffer injury while on the job.


We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered a needless injury. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-702-0333 (toll free at ) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.