S.C. Workers’ Compensation: Employee or Independent Contractor?

Employee vs. Independent Contractor
South Carolina’s workers compensation benefits only apply to injuries suffered by an employee, not an independent contractor. Often times, your employer will try to wrongfully classify you as an “independent contractor” instead of a employee for purposes of attempting to get around workers’ compensation laws and other employment-related requirements. We have seen that employers may require you to sign written documents agreeing that you are not an employee or provide you a Form 1099 for tax purposes instead of a Form W-9. However, in actuality, the injured worker is an employee in every sense of the word.  Just because your employee classifies you an an independent contractor, does not mean that you are one. If your employer is taking the position that you are not an employee for purposes of your workers’ comp claim, then you should contact an attorney without delay.

There is no single, established definition of an independent contractor under South Carolina law. Generally, an independent contractor is one who, exercising an independent employment, contracts to do a piece of work according to his own methods, without being subject to the control of his employer except as to the result of his work.

Only an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The determination of whether an injured worker was an “employee” or and “independent contractor” is an issue that is commonly contested before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.  The Commission and the South Carolina courts employ a 4 factor test to determine your status as an employee.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor – 4 Factor Test

The employee vs. independent contractor analysis is fact-intensive, and the courts rely primarily on a Right to Control Test to determine employment classifications. The control test generally assesses whether the employer has the right to direct and control the work of the individual. The courts examine a variety of factors to determine whether the right to control is present, and no one factor is dispositive. The principal factors showing right of control are:

  1. Direct Evidence of Right or Exercise of Control
  2. Method of Payment
  3. Furnishing of Equipment
  4. Right to Fire

Based on these four factors, the critical inquiry is whether there exists the right and authority to control and direct the particular work or undertaking. The right to control does not require the dictation of the thinking and manner of performing the work. It is enough if the employer has the right to direct the person by whom the services are to be performed, the time, place, degree, and amount of said services. When the employer furnishes the tools and equipment, the inference of right of control, thus an employee status, is a matter of common sense and business. Payment on a time basis is a strong indication of the status of employment, while payment on a completed project basis is indicative of independent contractor status. The power to fire or terminate the work, it is often said, is the power to control. If an injured worker has the ability to be fired, then this factor supports an employee/employer relationship instead of an independent contractor.

Injured on the Job? Contact Robert F. Goings for Questions regarding Your S.C. Workers’ Compensation Claim.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a work related accident, contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today. The question of whether an injured worker is an employee or a contractor is one of the many complicated factual and legal questions that injured workers may face in trying to obtain benefits that are allowed under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation laws.   Don’t go at it alone for your on-the-job injury, and call at (803) 350-9230 or complete the online contact form here. This S.C. Workers’ Compensation law firm is here to answer your questions today.


What Clients are saying

100 stars! Mr. Goings and his staff did an amazing job in handling my case! They were with me every step of the way and made sure my case was handled with my best interest at heart! The process could not have been any easier. I am forever grateful to Mr. Goings and his team. South Carolina’s best attorney!

- Tiffany AL

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After representing me after I fell down the stairs at work and injured my back, I would recommend the Goings Law Firm to handle any personal injury matter. Robert and Jessica made me feel like my case mattered to them and that my goals were their goals. They were tireless advocates for me yet they were also willing to be upfront and honest in their assessments of my options going forward. I never felt pressured to choose one course of action over the other. They treated my case like their own.

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- Anonymous

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- Car Accident Client

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- Workers’ Comp Client

Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for Robert Goings, and his amazingly talented team at Goings Law Firm, LLC. Mr. Goings was always genuinely concerned about my health, and overall well-being, was instrumental in recommending the best medical treatment plan for my injury, and most importantly, he treated me as if I were family. Mr. Goings was extremely attentive to every detail regarding my case, and he executed professional results and recovery, well beyond my greatest expectation.

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- Personal Injury Client

Hands down one of the BEST attorneys in the state!! Robert Goings exceeded all of my expectations. He welcomed me and my daughter with open arms and he kept me informed every step of the way. I knew exactly what was going on in my case and I really like that about him. His entire staff was awesome and I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking for a personal injury attorney. I guarantee you, you will be very pleased with Mr. Goings. Honestly, he definitely deserves more than 5 stars!!

- Personal Injury Client

After being rear ended in a car accident, I needed help navigating the insurance settlement. Having never needed the services of an attorney, I was very anxious about the whole process. Robert Goings & his staff were excellent to work with; at no point did I question my decision or feel that we would achieve anything less than the best possible settlement. I would never hesitate to recommend him to family, friends or strangers!

- Car Accident Client

Goings Law Firm was very helpful and patient with me. Goings Law Firm educated me about the legal side of things and help me understand my case. I would recommend Goings Law Firm to anyone.

- Workers’ Comp Client

Mr. Goings was caring and professional during a very difficult time in my life. I was faced with the sudden loss of my mother in a car accident, and Robert took the time to talk to me and check up on me throughout the duration of the case. I applaud his sensitivity and willingness to go the extra mile. I would recommend his firm to anyone that wants the best legal representation in South Carolina!

- Personal Injury Client

Robert and his staff have gone above and beyond, they are absolutely amazing at what they do. I would definitely call his office again if the need should arise.

- Workers’ Comp Client

I highly recommend Robert Goings! He is absolutely incredible!!! I had suffered from a dog bite injury and Robert went above and beyond to have me taken care of. He is extremely personable, I never felt like a “client”. He and his staff treated me as well as my family with genuine kindness. I am blessed to have had him take such great care of me and my case.

- Dog Bite Client

He was very kind and knowledgeable. He gave me status updates in a timely matter. I was VERY pleased.

- Personal Injury Client