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I’m an independent contractor.  Does this mean that I am unable to collect worker’s compensation benefits?




When you attempt to collect worker’s compensation benefits, your employer may try to convince you that you are unable to collect due to your status as an “independent contractor.”  Don’t acquiesce to your employer’s assertions so quickly!  Often times, an employer points to your employment contract that declares you “agreed” to be classified as an “independent contractor.”  In short, this is sheer nonsense, and may amount to little more than an intimidation tactic.  See Anton v. Indus. Comm’n, 141 Ariz. 566, 568-69, 688 P.2d 192 (1984) (“…neither the absence nor the presence of a written contract [tells] whether the petitioner was an employee or an independent contractor).

These days, companies attempt to designate their employees as “independent contractors” as often as possible (often calling this relationship part of the newfangled "gig economy").  By doing this, employers are able to minimize payroll taxes and avoid providing benefits to their employees—including worker’s compensation insurance.  Even still, when certain factors are met, the “independent contractor” is deemed a “statutory employee” and when injured, the employee is able to recover worker’s compensation benefits.  A.R.S. §§ 23-902(B), 23-1021. 

In a recent case, the Arizona Court of Appeals defined those factors that make a would-be contractor into a “statutory employee.”  Danial v. Industrial Commission of Arizona, 246 Ariz. 81 (2019).  All of the enumerated factors “turn” on whether the employer retains supervision or “control” over the contractor (or sub-contractor).  

Notably, the Court said that “Control” is defined by:

1. Whether the independent contractor’s work is part of the employer’s trade or business;

2. Whether the employer retains “control” over the “details” of the independent contractor’s work including:

  1. duration of employment;
  2. method of payment;
  3. right to hire/fire;
  4. who furnishes equipment;
  5. who provides insurance;

Don’t let you employer push you around.  If any of the above applies to you and your employer is denying you benefits due to your status an “independent contractor” contact us today, and we can advocate for your interests.    



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