When performing a job, there is a possibility for injury. A roofer could slip and fall off a roof, a plumber could injure themselves fixing your pipes, the list goes on.
According to Mirror, however, the most common injuries that independent contractors suffer are:
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Cuts requiring stitches
- Internal injuries
What happens if you hire an independent contractor, otherwise known as a gig worker, who is injured while working on your project?
Questions that may arise include:
- Who covers the cost of injury?
- Who covers the cost of any damage during the project?
- And more
So, let’s answer the question: What happens if my gig worker gets injured on the job?
Do Gig Workers Need Their Own Insurance?
True independent contractors have their own insurance coverage in case of an accident or injury on the job. There are various types of insurance that independent contractors can use to cover themselves in case of injury or more.
General liability insurance is a popular type of insurance for most businesses and independent contractors to have. General liability insurance covers the legal costs in case a claim is filed.
Depending on the type of independent contractor you hire, however, they may need other forms of insurance, including:
- Workers’ compensation
- Commercial property insurance
- Commercial auto insurance
- Business interruption insurance
- Cyber liability insurance
The most important type of insurance to look out for when hiring an independent contractor is workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance covers the cost of injury so you, as a business owner, are not liable for the medical bills if an injury occurs.
Businesses who hire independent contractors without verifying that the hired entity has a valid workers’ compensation policy leave themselves open to covering the cost of injury. In many states, if the 1099 does not have workers’ comp insurance, the claim goes to the prime contractor—which would be the project owner (i.e. the business).
The risk? Not only is your business paying the medical bills of the injury, but your businesses insurance may not cover the cost of the claim either.
For these reasons, before hiring and working with an independent contractor, ensure they have the proper coverage.
Ask for a Certificate of Insurance (COI) Before Starting the Job
As emphasized before, best practice is to make sure your hired independent contractor is independently insured. If they are truly a gig worker, they have their own insurance and you—as a business owner—won’t pay the cost of injury for them with your own insurance or out of pocket.
In order to verify the insurance your independent contractor has, request a certificate of insurance (COI) prior to hiring and working with them. These COIs are snapshots of the insurance a 1099 has.
Farmers Insurance explains COIs as “a statement of coverage issued by the company that insures your business. Usually, no more than one page, a COI provides a summary of your business coverage.”
It’s common for businesses to request a COI as a condition of doing business together. Small business owners and contractors request the COI as a form of protection against liability for workplace accidents or injuries.
Again, before entering into a contractual agreement with an independent contractor, review and verify their insurance coverage to make sure your business is not liable for any potential injury costs.
Read on for more tips on how to properly hire and work with an independent contractor.
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got1099 is a business reporting company providing business analysis reports to companies re: their 1099 independent contractors We do not provide legal advice. Consult with your attorney relating to any legal issues.