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Workers’ compensation for the self-employed

You’ve achieved your dream of self-employment. At first, you put in long days (and sometimes you still do) but now you’re starting to achieve that work-life balance that you’ve always craved. But when you were establishing your business, did you think about taking out workers’ compensation coverage on yourself? 

In New York, there is no requirement for you to take out workers’ compensation if you are incorporated, a partnership, or a sole proprietor with no employees. But simply because there is no legal mandate to do so doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good idea. Depending on the type of industry you work in, taking out coverage even if you are self-employed is advisable due to both contracting company requirements and level of risk involved. 

The construction industry 

The construction industry is an excellent case in point, as it probably the one field where safety-related rules and laws apply the most. If you are a contractor working on a building or infrastructure project, then there is a significant risk of injury for you and liability for those injuries to the company that contracted your services. Therefore, many general construction agencies that subcontract work out will not hire any self-employed workers without personal coverage. By taking out workers’ compensation, you protect yourself in the case of injury and open up more avenues for subcontracting work. 

Any industry or workplace that involves a lot of physical labor represents a higher risk of personal injury. If you elect for coverage, then you can report any injuries against your policy and, once your claim is approved, receive payment for some or all of your medical bills as well as lost wages, settlements, and permanent disability. 

Taking out coverage 

In New York, a sole proprietor who has no employees but take out a workers’ compensation policy is automatically covered by it. If you do eventually expand and start hiring people, state law requires you to obtain coverage for your workers, but as the owner, you are automatically excluded from the company’s’ workers’ compensation insurance coverage. You may, however, choose to include yourself by filing New York Form C-105.32 with whichever insurance carrier you are doing business with. 

If you are ever injured in the course of self-employment and your workers’ compensation refuses to honor its coverage, then a New York personal injury attorney can review your case and represent you in an appeal. Your attorney can also assist if the injuries were due to the negligent actions of a third party at the job site, such as a supplier or vendor. In either case, the right legal counsel can help you win the benefits you need to recover and resume control of your American dream. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, New York personal injury lawyer. He offers free in-person initial consultations to prospective clients. If you were injured, be sure to obtain a police report and be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible. Call 718-329-9500 to set up an appointment.

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