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

UPDATED: Aug 31, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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