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New York Workers' Compensation Blog For Small Business Owners

Independent contractor versus employee in New York

When a company needs to hire someone to do a job, it has two options. The first is that it can hire an employee. The second is that it can hire an independent contractor. While these parties can usually handle similar tasks, there are some legal differences that exist. Trying to ensure that your company classifies these individuals properly is critical. Misclassification of employees or independent contractors can be costly for companies.

There are several points that you need to think about when you're trying to determine whether you have an employee or an independent contractor. Typically, the more control you have over the person, the more likely they are an employee.

When should you deny workers' compensation claims?

As someone who works in the insurance business, you've likely seen your fair share of cases in which individuals have filed claims to benefits when they aren't entitled to receive them. There are several instances in which you as an insurer may deny an individual's claim for workers' compensation benefits.

Many claimants must think that their good actors. This is the only thing that would explain why so many individuals try to request workers' compensation benefits even though they aren't sick or hurt. One of the most common reasons why insurers have to deny a person's request for benefits is because none of the medical records show that there's anything wrong with them.

Employees that aren't generally covered by workers' compensation

New York is one of 39 states that require virtually every employer to offer workers' compensation coverage. It doesn't matter if a company has a single employee or multiple employees. All individuals who work for a business must be covered by this insurance unless they perform certain types of work or are classified in a particular way.

Most states don't require individuals who employ housekeepers and other domestic servants to take out workers' compensation coverage to pay for their medical costs if they get hurt on the job.

Use caution classifying workers as independent contractors

Small business owners typically have limited resources, so they look to save money wherever they can. The less they spend on running their businesses, the greater the chances of turning a profit. One burgeoning way to reduce overhead is hiring independent contractors whenever possible. Perhaps you have taken advantage of this growing business trend.

The kinds of services an independent contractor can supply are limitless. However, if you have or plan to use contract workers in your business, you would be wise to understand exactly what it means to be an independent contractor. These workers have certain protections under New York and federal law, and misclassifying an employee as a contractor could lead to serious legal entanglements for your business.

What should you do when a worker is hurt or falls ill on the job?

State and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials are the ones who set and enforce standards aimed at keeping workers safe. How you handle a worker falling ill or getting hurt on the job is left largely up to you as the employer though. There are some considerations that you'll want to take into account to be ready if an injuring incident occurs.

Like many other types of unexpected events, the best thing that you can do is to be prepared for them. You shouldn't just devise a plan for how to handle a situation that may arise, but also train your staff on how to handle it as well. You should have a point of contact that your employees can consult when a workplace incident occurs. You must have an emergency contact person on file for each worker. You should have a first aid kit fully stocked so that your workers can render aid to their colleagues, if necessary, as well.

Understanding the difference between 'detour' and 'frolic'

Workers' compensation claims can sometimes involve work-related activities that an employee was engaged in outside of the actual workplace. The act that an employee was engaged in when they were injured, however, needs to be either directly authorized by the employer or related to activity that the employer authorized.

Two terms that are sometimes used in workers' comp and employer liability are "detour" and "frolic." Which one of these describes an employee's actions can determine whether the employer can be held responsible. Let's look more closely at both.

How should your municipality respond when a worker gets hurt?

There are a variety of reasons that employers, including municipalities, are sued. One of the more common ones why they face legal action is because employers fail to take the necessary steps that they should take when a worker gets hurt on the job. While the exact steps an employer may need to take may vary by jurisdiction, there are some general procedures any business entity must follow no matter where their headquarters is.

One of the most important things that an employer can do when a worker is hurt on the job is to be responsive.

Study shows retail is a high risk for workers' compensation

Small businesses often seem like small boats. They are light protection from the stormy seas of business, and people in them can end up feeling very much alone. But small businesses are never alone. They are part of a big system, and there is often as much help and support as there is competition.

Businesses with a small or medium number of employees may find themselves in a tricky position while trying to support the people who work for them. Costs like workers' compensation insurance and labor regulation compliance can take a heavy toll on small operating budgets.

Is your employee faking an injury?

You certainly want to take your employees at their word, especially when one of them claims to have suffered an injury on the job. You carry the appropriate workers' compensation insurance for just such situations, and you are happy to have that safeguard in place when a worker becomes ill or injured.

As much as you hate to admit it, there is always the chance that one of your employees will fake an injury to fraudulently collect benefits from your workers' compensation insurance. When this happens, everyone suffers. Workers' comp fraud costs you money, time and resources, as well as jeopardizing the morale of your business and damaging the trust between you and your employees.

Workers' compensation benefits rose for much of the last decade

Workers' compensation is a vital guarantee for employees that helps keep workplaces safe. However, the details of the insurance and other requirements to offer the payments if a worker is injured on the job have been the bane of many business owners.

Payouts are on the rise in New York, according to a recent study of workers' compensation claims. Benefits per claim increased between 7 and 9 percent from 2007 to 2014, with a smaller rise before reforms to the relevant laws in 2007.

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