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The blurred line between independent contractor and employee

Many New Jersey residents have seen changes in what is required when finding suitable employment. People are becoming part of the gig economy. This umbrella term describes work that is done on a piecework basis. Instead of hourly pay or a yearly salary, those in the gig economy get paid per job that they do.

A lot of gig work is done on the Internet, but some is done off-line. Examples of this include ride-hailing services, like Lyft or Uber, or bike couriers who are paid per delivery. Gig work has a unique set of health and safety risks without the protection that comes from working as an employee. The risks vary depending on task performed as well as the number of hours a person dedicates to gig employment.

However, since gig workers are often considered subcontractors or self-employed, according to OSHA they are responsible for their own occupational safety and health. If a gig worker gets injured on the job, they may not have the right to benefits, such as workers compensation.

This has led some to question if a worker who is dispatched via an app should be classified as an employee or independent contractor. The nature of the work and the risk associated with it doesn’t change simply because of how the worker receives their assignment. The way the government answers this question in the future will help determine the rights and protection gig workers receive.

An individual who does gig work driving for a company and then finds himself in an automobile accident may have questions about what, if any, liability the company that hired him has. A personal injury attorney may be able to answer these questions. They can help a person distinguish between accidents that may merit a workers compensation claim versus those that may require a personal injury claim.