Independent Contractors And Workers’ Compensation In Wisconsin

Independent Contractor

In Wisconsin, businesses and organizations are legally required to provide virtually all employees with no-fault workers’ compensation benefits. In recent years, more and more companies have been relying on the contributions of independent contractors. This raises an important question:

Can Independent Contractors File for Workers’ Compensation in Wisconsin?

Unfortunately, independent contractors are not covered by workers’ comp. That being said, a significant number of independent contractors are misclassified. If you are improperly classified as a contractor, you may be entitled to financial benefits. Here, our Wisconsin workers’ compensation lawyer explains the most important things you need to know.

Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Claims: Who is an Employee?

The Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to provide no-fault coverage to employees. As an independent contractor is not an employee, a Wisconsin employer is not required to provide coverage. Under Wis. Stats. § 102.07(8), an employer must satisfy a detailed, nine-part test when classifying a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee. In Wisconsin, an independent contractor must:

  1. Maintain a separate business
  2. File self-employment taxes
  3. Operate under a contract
  4. Maintain their own expenses
  5. Be responsible for satisfactory contract performance
  6. Be paid on a per-contract basis
  7. Subject themselves to the profits & losses of the industry
  8. Have recurring contractual obligations
  9. Personally succeed or fail based on their own performance

Over the years, case law has developed regarding how this test should be applied to real-world situations. As a general rule, an independent contractor must retain control over their own workplace performance. If an employer/supervisor has too much control over the performance of a contract, then the independent contractor may actually be an employee for the purposes of Wisconsin workers’ compensation law.

Worker Misclassification is a Significant Problem—Know Your Rights

As demonstrated above, Wisconsin’s nine-part test for independent contractor classification is comprehensive. Companies and organizations must satisfy strict legal requirements when classifying a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee. Unfortunately, too many businesses misclassify employees. A study cited by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) estimated that as many as 1 in 3 workers classified as independent contractors were actually misclassified.

If you were improperly classified as an independent contractor and you were injured while on the job, you may be entitled to benefits. Do not assume that you are ineligible to take legal action based solely on your independent contractor classification. A skilled Milwaukee work injury lawyer will review your case and help you determine the best path to recover the financial support you need and deserve.

Get Help With Workers’ Compensation in Wisconsin

At Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf, our Milwaukee workers’ comp lawyers are fierce, experienced advocates for injured employees and their families. If you have any questions about independent contractors and work injury claims, we can help. Contact our legal team now for a free, no-obligation initial consultation. We represent injured employees and independent contractors throughout Wisconsin, including Cedarburg, Brookfield, Oak Creek, Kenosha, Delafield, and Whitefish Bay.