The distinction between who is an employee and who is an independent contractor can be an important factor in a personal injury case. If you are injured by a person who was “on duty” or who was working for someone else at the time you were injured, you may have an additional cause of action against that person’s employer. As a personal injury lawyer Memphis, TN respects in the legal community, we can tell you that’s important because it represents another potential source of recovery for you. Make sure you tell your lawyer if you think the person who injured you may have been “on the job” or working for someone else at the time of your accident.
The General Rule
As a general matter, an employer is liable for the acts of his or her employees committed during the course and scope of their employment. On the other hand, while there are exceptions, a person employing an independent contractor to perform a job is usually not liable for the independent contractor’s negligent actions.
Factors Courts Consider
Courts consider the following factors when deciding whether a work relationship is that of employer-employee or independent contractor:
(1) the right to control the conduct of the work,
(2) the right of termination,
(3) the method of payment,
(4) the freedom to select and hire helpers,
(5) the furnishing of tools and equipment,
(6) the self-scheduling of work hours, and
(7) the freedom to render services to other entities.
Independent Contractor Agreements
The existence of an “Independent Contractor Agreement” does not, in and of itself, mean that a Court will find that the relationship was that of an independent contractor as opposed to an employee/employer relationship. Regardless of any agreement, the Court will look at all of the surrounding facts and the elements listed above before reaching its decision.
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