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Can Companies Be Held Liable for Their Independent Contractors?

Posted on in Personal Injury

crystal lake personal injury lawyerIt is common practice in certain industries to hire independent contractors. A contractor is preferred if certain work is only seasonal or needed so sporadically that hiring a full-time employee is excessive. Simply put, independent contractors offer employers flexibility and affordability.

However, the use of independent contractors raises important legal questions. First and foremost, if a contractor commits a wrongful act that harms another individual or entity, can the employer be held liable? Like most legal questions, the answer, of course, depends.

Although the general rule is that the employer cannot be held liable for independent contractors’ actions, there are three well-noted exceptions. If you or a loved one were harmed by the negligent actions of an independent contractor, it is important to discuss your legal options with a skilled personal injury attorney. 

They Are Treated Like an Employee

Under the law, the primary way of distinguishing an independent contractor from an employee is the employer’s level of control.

Employers control how and in what manner that employees execute their job duties. The Employees may be required to wear certain clothing (i.e., a uniform), work certain hours, and perform their work in a very specific way.

The courts have determined that if an employer controls an independent contractor like an employee, the contractor may be considered an employee under the law. Thus, the employer could exposed to liability for his misdeeds.

Interestingly, the employer is still liable even if the written agreement only contemplates an independent contractor relationship. If evidence of sufficient control is present, the contractor is an employee no matter the contractual language.

The Work Is Non-Delegable

According to the courts, some work is of such public interest that it cannot be delegated to an independent contractor. Some examples include the government’s responsibility to maintain the roads and a business’ obligation to create a safe environment for workers.

The Work Is Inherently Dangerous

If businesses could dole out extremely dangerous jobs to independent contractors, it would be an easy way to avoid responsibility if something goes wrong; it would also mean more accidents and disasters.

For this reason, companies are usually liable for work that is considered inherently dangerous, even if it is performed by an independent contractor. Demolition is a prime example of work that falls under this category.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Lawyer

Suffering serious injuries in an accident is always difficult, but coping is especially challenging if that accident was caused by negligence or wrongdoing. You may wonder, “if someone had just acted responsibly, perhaps I would not be in this situation.”

Thankfully, McHenry County victims do not have to suffer in silence. Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC has been advocating for the rights of regular people for decades. We appreciate the circumstances facing our clients, which is why we keep client needs above the bottom line. It is this commitment to service that has made our firm among the most respected in the state.

If you need a McHenry County personal injury lawyer, contact Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC at 815-338-3838 to set up a free initial consultation.





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