Independent Contractors and Workers’ Compensation in Greenville

Workplaces and job sites can be dangerous places. Despite many advances in safety, it is not uncommon for workers to receive injuries while on the job. 

Most employers in South Carolina are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance to compensate their employees who are hurt. However, the relationship between independent contractors and workers’ compensation in Greenville can be complicated. If you do not have a traditional employment relationship, your employer may try to deny you workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney with experience in these matters could review your case and investigate your accident to help protect your rights to compensation.

Defining Independent Contractors

In general, the rule in Greenville is that employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees, but do not have to provide these benefits to their independent contractors. 

But an employer simply calling an injured person an independent contractor is not enough. Instead, South Carolina courts will examine the relationship between the employer and the injured person to determine their status. In making this determination, the court will examine four factors, including:

Right to Control

Whether the employer had the ability to tell the injured person when or how to perform their job; if so, then the injured person is more likely to be an employee; if not, then it is more likely they are an independent contractor.

Tools and Equipment

An employer generally furnishes an employee with the tools and equipment necessary to complete their job; an independent contractor typically will provide their own equipment.


If the employer paid the injured person a salary, that indicates employment; conversely, if the employer paid the injured person per project, that indicates an independent contractor relationship.

Ability to Fire

Generally, an independent contractor will have a contract requiring some form of payment if it is terminated early, but an employer can typically fire an employee at their convenience.

None of these are dispositive on their own, so determining how the courts may balance these factors can be difficult. An experienced attorney could help an injured person analyze their situation to determine whether they are an employee or an independent contractor and how that will affect their ability to recover from their injury.

Options for Independent Contractors

Even if an injured person is an independent contractor, they are not out of luck simply because they cannot bring a workers’ compensation claim. In some situations, the injured person may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their injury. 

A personal injury lawsuit differs from a workers’ compensation claim in a few key areas. For example, workers’ compensation is not fault-based. An employee does not have to prove that their employer did anything wrong. In a personal injury suit, an independent contractor will have to show that the employer’s negligent actions caused their injury. The compensation available for workers’ compensation is obtained using a specific formula based on the injury the employee received and the time they missed from work, among other factors. In a personal injury claim, an independent contractor will have more latitude to prove and be compensated for the full extent of their loss, including any emotional trauma or pain and suffering that they experienced.  

A local Greenville attorney who has experience helping independent contractors with injuries received on the job may be able to help someone identify what other options are available to them if workers’ compensation is not.

Speak to a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Greenville About Your Rights as an Independent Contractor

If you have been hurt on the job, you have likely had to incur expensive medical bills, miss time at work, and experience a difficult recovery process. If those losses were not your fault, you deserve to be compensated for them. 

Although the relationship between independent contractors and workers’ compensation in Greenville can be complicated, a knowledgeable lawyer could help you understand your legal rights and options. 

Schedule an initial consultation today to learn more.