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employer liabilty to contract worker? WA state Washington

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  • employer liabilty to contract worker? WA state Washington

    I have worked for a horse ranch in washington state for nearly 2 years. I started "on the books" and after 1 1/2 years got my washington business license and went "contract labor" at the coaching of my employer for tax purposes. My main concern in doing this was not being covered for injury on the job, as I am not insured. My employer assured me that her insurance covered instructors and trainers she payed to work with her horses and students. I fell off one of her horses on the clock one month ago. She has made it clear that she will not pay even a percentage of my medical bills and certainly won't put out anything for lost wages.
    Do I have any rights here? I have been searching the department of labor site, but cannot find anything that applies to my unique situation.
    Please let me know where I stand here, if you can.

    JColling

  • #2
    Give the state a call and ask the question. Under Washington State law*, your employer or their business could be liable for the unpaid workers' compensation (industrial insurance) premiums of any business they hire or contract with (*RCW 51.12.070).
    Somedays you're the windshield and somedays you're the bug.

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    • #3
      Whether you qualify as an employee or not depends upon what you do exactly. If you are an independent contractor, it would be your responsibility to have such coverage for yourself.

      if WC does not cover you, you may havea claim under liability statutes. Those are on the whole more difficult to collect under as you typically have to show that they were negligent or somehow at fault.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #4
        Who do I call with the state? A rep of the DOL?? As far as I can tell I don't really qualify as an independent contractor as I dedicated well over 40 hrs/wk there and did not accept payment from anyone else.

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        • #5
          The number of hours and exclusivity don't necessarily mean you are an employee. You can find the contact numbers here http://www.lni.wa.gov/Main/ContactIn...rerID=21000000
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jcolling View Post
            after 1 1/2 years got my washington business license and went "contract labor" at the coaching of my employer for tax purposes.
            That won't help your case.

            If you were an employee, you must be covered by the employer's workers comp coverage, but, if you could be legitimately called an independent contractor, you are on your own. The fact that the business owner said you would be covered does not alter that, unless you have that promise in writing.
            Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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