“Employee” or “Independent Contractor” for purposes of Virginia Workers Compensation benefits ?

Doug Landau has been involved in a number of cases that turn on the question of whether the injured worker is an “Employee” or an “Independent Contractor.” Sometimes this question is not as easy as it sounds. At ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., we have researched this question on behalf of clients from all over the world. Not every worker injured on the job is entitled to workers comp, especially if they are not “employees,” but “independent contractors.”

Generally, an individual “‘is an employee if he works for wages or a salary and the person who hires him reserves the power to fire him and the power to exercise control over the work to be performed. The power of control is the most significant indicium of the employment relationship.'” Behrensen v. Whitaker, 10 Va. App. 364, 367, 392 S.E.2d 508, 509 10 (1990) (quoting Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Gill, 224 Va. 92, 98, 294 S.E.2d 840, 843 (1982)); see also Stover v. Ratliff, 221 Va. 509, 512, 272 S.E.2d 40, 42 (1980). It has been said that the right of control includes not only the power to specify the result to be attained, but also the power to control

the means and methods by which the result is to be accomplished.

An employer/employee relationship exists if the party for whom the work is to be done has the power to direct the means and methods by which the other does the work. If the latter is free to adopt such means and methods as he chooses to accomplish the result, he is not an employee but an independent contractor.

The Landau Law Shop makes careful inquiry into the facts of each case. Every person’s claim is unique. Over the many years he has been trying cases on behalf of injured workers, Herndon lawyer Doug Landau has observed that independent contractors often:

wear their own uniforms,
supply their own tools,
work for other General Contractors,
are paid via 1099s,
do not have taxes taken out of their pay,
do not have independent access (or keys) to the work sites,
do not have set hours,
do not have private offices at the work site,
can hire their own help without the input of the general contractor,
have their own company or name posted at the work site.

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