Outside the field of workers’ compensation, people will loosely refer to an individual as an employee or independent contractor. However, in the field of workers’ compensation these titles are not interchangeable as the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act distinguishes “employees” from “independent contractors.” An employee is covered by the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, whereas, an independent contractor is not.
The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act has outlined criteria to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor, and is therefore, barred from receipt of workers’ compensation benefits. O.C.G.A. § 34-9-2 outlines criteria used to determine whether an individual qualifies as an independent contractor. An independent contractor is an individual who meets the following criteria:
1. An individual who has entered into a written or implied contract which creates an independent contractor relationship;
2. Exercises control over the time, manner and method of the work to be performed;
3. Is paid per unit of work or contract as opposed to a salary or hourly basis;
If an individual does not meet all of the above-referenced criteria he/she shall be considered an employee, unless an administrative law judge finds otherwise.
Obviously, whether or not you are an independent contractor is very fact specific. If you would like to discuss this topic and whether you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, please contact Ramos & Law.