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Understanding Workers’ Compensation for Independent Contractors in Rockford, Illinois

To determine if an individual is an employee, as opposed to an independent contractor, and therefore eligible for workers’ compensation in Illinois, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission assesses several key factors. These factors revolve around the level of control an employer exerts over the contractor’s work.

While true independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois, many employees are mischaracterized and, with skilled representation, you may be able to prove an independent contractor qualifies as an employee under the Act. Some companies misclassify employees in their documents in order to save money, which is why it is even more crucial to get experienced legal representation in your case.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor

Essentially, it all comes down to how much control you have over your job. If the employer exercises a lot of control over the injured worker and their work, then the injured worker is more likely to be found an employee and not an independent contractor.

Employees are controlled by employer demands and processes. They typically:

  • Work set hours and dates defined by an employer
  • Follow processes and procedures determined by an employer
  • Receive tools, equipment or materials necessary for the job from the employer
  • Are assigned specific tasks dictated by the employer
  • Work exclusively for the employer

Independent contractors have a little more freedom. They generally:

  • Set their own schedules
  • Complete tasks how they see fit
  • Use their own resources and equipment
  • Are able to work for multiple employers at the same time
  • Get paid through 1099 forms
  • Don’t have taxes taken out of their paycheck; they pay self-employment taxes

Using these guidelines, the Commission seeks to determine whether the worker is independent or ‘an employee.’ If the worker is found to be an independent contractor, they may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, workers’ compensation claims are reviewed case by case, so working with a lawyer to ensure you’re receiving the benefits you deserve is highly recommended.

Additionally, your rights are governed by state law, meaning Illinois’ workers’ compensation processes and benefits may look different than in other states.

What Does This Mean for Independent Contractors in Illinois?

Being classified as an independent contractor can provide flexibility and autonomy, but it can also mean giving up safety nets, such as workers’ compensation. If you believe you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor and should be eligible for workers’ compensation, get legal representation now.

To protect yourself, workers should always:

  • Carefully review all contracts
  • Maintain clear documentation of work agreements, payment methods and any other relevant details
  • Seek legal support from a trusted local attorney if necessary

Start Your Free Legal Consultation

Navigating the workers’ compensation landscape as an independent contractor in Illinois can be complex and requires a thorough understanding of what factors the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission considers in each case. If you were injured on the job, consult with experienced attorneys at Black & Jones, a reputable Rockford law firm with an accomplished history in workers’ compensation and workplace injury cases.

With the right knowledge and legal guidance, independent contractors like you can protect your rights and make informed decisions for your current and future work arrangements! Call today at (815) 967-9000 or fill out our form here for your free consultation.