Compensation for Self-Employed Workers Who Are Hurt on the Job

Many Kentucky citizens choose to earn their living and provide various services to the community through self-employment. Self-employed workers may be exposed to numerous dangers in the course of conducting their daily business operations.

Dealing with an injury can quickly become complicated when self-employed individuals need to secure compensation for injuries suffered on the job. Fortunately, a self-employed worker may have multiple options for recovering damages from liable parties or governmental benefits.

Are you a self-employed worker in Kentucky who has recently suffered serious injuries in an on-the-job accident? If so, it is in your best interest to quickly talk to a qualified lawyer for assistance with your claims.

The Paul Baker Law Office helps accident victims as well as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants in Barbourville and many surrounding areas of Kentucky. Call us today or fill out an online contact form to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free consultation.

Can You File for Workers’ Compensation If You Are Self-employed?

Kentucky requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation policies, which is insurance that provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job. A self-employed person is generally not required to have workers’ compensation insurance. It can therefore be difficult for a self-employed individual to obtain their own workers’ compensation coverage.

Many insurers in Kentucky will require a business owner to employ at least one person in order to write a workers’ compensation policy. Even when such policies can be written for self-employed workers, the coverage can be quite costly. Still, workers’ compensation can provide benefits when a person is unable to work for a period of time because of an injury suffered on the job.

When a self-employed individual is injured on someone else’s property, possibly as the result of doing work for another business, they may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent party. Unlike employees who are covered under workers’ compensation policies, self-employed independent contractors are not subject to the same prohibition against lawsuits.

How to File for Disability Benefits If You Are Self-Employed

SSD benefits are available based on whether a person has paid a sufficient amount of Social Security taxes. As long as a self-employed person has filed appropriate quarterly or annual taxes, they should be eligible for SSD benefits.

You must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time depending on the date of your birth. The maximum required is 10 years of work or 40 credits. As of 2018, a person earns the maximum of four credits per year (one credit for each $1,320 of earnings during the year) if their net earnings are $5,280 or more. A self-employed person’s SSD earnings will be based on their reported earnings, however, not their work credits.

Code Of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 404.1575(a)(1) establishes that if you are both self-employed and entitled to SSD benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate you claim depending upon whether your “work activity occurs before or after you have received such benefits for at least 24 months,” and on the purpose of your claim.

Under Code Of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 404.1575(a)(2), the SSA will determine whether you have engaged in “substantial gainful activity” by applying three tests:

  • Test 1 — You engaged in substantial gainful activity by rendering services significant to the operation of a business and received a substantial income (more than $1,180) from the business.
  • Test 2 — You engaged in substantial gainful activity when your actual work activities — such as hours employed, skills, energy output, efficiency, duties, and other responsibilities — are comparable to that of unimpaired individuals in the same or a similar industry.
  • Test 3 — You engaged in substantial gainful activity if your work activity is worth more than $1,180 a month.

In sum, the SSA may use the guides within CFR § 404.1575 to assess the nature of any work you undertake “for at least 24 months before you have received Social Security disability benefits,” in order to determine whether you have engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA).

The SSA will also assess any work you do “for at least 24 months after you have received Social Security disability benefits,” in order to determine whether you have engaged in substantial gainful activity  while receiving benefits. Such “work activity” may demonstrate that you have recovered from your disability.

Can You File a Personal Injury Claim If You Are Self-Employed and Hurt on the Job?

Your ability to file a personal injury claim will usually depend on the type of incident you were involved in and who was at fault. While employees covered by workers’ compensation cannot file lawsuits against employers, most self-employed individuals are free to file lawsuits against any negligent parties.

One of the primary challenges that a self-employed person faces when filing a personal injury claim is proving the inability to work. Many self-employed people can have fluctuating incomes that make it difficult to assess accurate damages.

Another potential danger that self-employed people face when handling their own personal injury claims is dealing with a negligent party’s insurance company. In some cases, these insurers may accuse the self-employed individual of having been at fault for their injuries. In other cases, insurance companies may try to offer proposed settlements to quickly resolve the claim for far less than it is actually worth.

It is important to avoid speaking to any insurance company until you have secured legal representation. Many representatives for insurers act concerned and seem sincere yet may be attempting to get you to make a potentially damaging statement about your case during a recorded phone call.

If you are a self-employed person who has sustained injuries in an accident on the job or if you were hurt due to another party’s negligence in Kentucky, it is crucial to immediately retain legal counsel. The Paul Baker Law Office represents injured self-employed individuals throughout the greater Barbourville area.

Our firm is prepared to work tirelessly to help you seek all of the damages and benefits that you are entitled to. Our firm is ready to review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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