Is an employer liable for a sub-contractors on the job injuries?

I run a business that is mobile(we go to different locations). My business is an LLC, and my workers are paid as sub-contractors. One of the sub-contractors was hurt on the job and suffered burns. He was actually able to show up for work the next day, but did have a bit of medical expense since he was taken by ambulances to the E.R. Am I liable for his medical bill/pain and suffering ?

Asked on August 31, 2011 New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If he is a sub-contractor, you should be liable only to the extent that you (the LLC, that is) in some way contributed to or caused his injuries. For example, if you provided unsafe equipment, or had him work in unsafe conditions, you would be liable; or even though he was a subcontractor, if you directed him to do something unsafe, you could potentially be liable under that circumstance.

Be sure that the is truly a subcontractor and not actually an employee--it doesn't matter how you pay him, it only matters whether he meets the criteria to be considered an independent contractor or not. If he should have been classified as an employee, then he should have recourse to the worker's compensation system, and you should have been making contributions to that system. Misclassifying workers and not making the requisite contributions on their behalf can itself lead to liabilty. You can find information about when someone is--and is not--and independent contractor on the Department of Labor website.


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