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Catastrophe Central, Discuss, Share, Learn

If you get hurt while cat adjusting are you able to claim workers comp?
Last Post 12/08/2008 10:13 PM by ChuckDeaton. 7 Replies.
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12/04/2008 9:58 PM
    First let me start by saying I was not hurt.  However I know an adjuster who took a dive off a roof and he is now unable to work and will be out of work for 1 year until he is able to work.  I have always been under the impression that you are on your own if you get hurt.  However today someone told me that as an independent contractor your covered by workmans comp. is this correct.  Looking forward to your replys.
    Life Member

    12/04/2008 11:37 PM
    Workers' Compensation Coverage depends on how your work situation is legally configured at the time and place of injury. Lots of questions have to be answered and the answers determine whether or not you are due Workers' Compensation.

    Take it from an experienced Workers' Compensation adjuster, Workers' Comp may be better than nothing, but it sucks.

    Safety first and foremost is all that I can say. Take some advice from an old fart, taking a dive is your own fault. Buy some line, a safety harness and at least one ascender and tie yourself on that roof.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
    Founding Member
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    Senior Member

    12/05/2008 11:07 AM
    To add to what Chuck said, it also depends on what state the person was working when the injury occurred.  Some states have statutes that give a lot more liberal interpretation as to who a covered worker is and there may be potential coverage afforded for a contract worker.  The employment arrangements are the most important criteria as to whether the injured party is covered or not.  Some companies, like Pilot, hire the person on as a temp. employee, and are therefore covered under their comp policy.

    12/05/2008 1:59 PM
    I worked mostly for GAB as a contract employee from 1998 to 2007. Though I was an independent, the official relationship was one of an as-needed contract employee. Therefore, I was covered by their work comp (and E and O). I had to take advantage of it in 2007 when I had just told the homeowner that their roof would not be a problem for me. Then I fell over the four inch step down on their patio deck and broke my arm in three places. It's not the roof walking that causes me problems, but walking on the ground can be hazardous.

    When working for the companies contracting with State Farm (Eberl's, Worley, Renfroe, etc.), I believe you are considered an employee. In those cases I believe you would be covered by worker's comp. Other companies that hire you as purely an independent contractor would be a different matter.
    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
    Jud G.
    Senior Member
    Senior Member

    12/07/2008 11:17 AM
    I understand some people may be in a hurry, but I will never dive off of a roof no matter how close that swimming pool is.
    To answer your question, it depends on your friend's contract with that firm. A lot of 1099 Contracts should spell out the responsibility you have to pay your own taxes, take out your own E&O, and take out your own Worker's Comp. If he is a W2 employee, then your friend's company should have a WC policy to protect themselves against 3rd party tort. Should your friend fall under the 1099 category, you need to check into how your state decides who is an Independent Contractor and who isn't. That's what lawyers are for.

    In order to satisfy contractural obligations to work, some Independent Contractors will take out their own WC policy. This occurrs mostly in the construction field and because of this, our contractural arrangements are often patterned after what states decide who is and who is not an Independent Contractor. It's basically a ghost policy because you can't file a WC claim against yourself. The policy still works, per say, because it is the best way to tell your company or parent contractor that you are officially barring yourself from recovery against them through either a third party tort or WC case.

    Your friend is not alone as there are many well-intentioned people out there working as a 1099 contractor and have not researched these issues. Research them and make certain you have a sure-fire remedy in case tragedy strikes. Get a good Health Insurance policy, LTD policy, self insure for your short term disability, and keep that credit card debt down. For more info, call Dave Ramsey.

    One wise fellow once told me that there's only two types of adjusters; those that have fallen off the roof and those that will.
    Ray Hall

    12/07/2008 5:41 PM
    It's just a guess, but it seems about 90% of the contracts state your are a 1099, no WC and some furnish E & O and take $200.00 or some other out of your first check. The catastrophe industry really needs a good flushing out and if 08 had been quite it would have purged a lot of want a bees. Some real horror stories will come out of IKE. Like....... defective product.......workmanship......improper design..... design flaws......did not complete the job.... it was in your care , custody and control, unprofessional conduct, superior knowledge...... should have known. No the IKE claims were not general liability claims and these tried and true snippets do not apply to catastrophe property losses; -----but, no cure no pay will be invoked hundreds of times if not thousands retroactive to 9-13-08. Adjusters who worked in Texas have not seen the bottom.......yet.
    Advanced Member
    Advanced Member

    12/08/2008 7:35 AM
    The definition of employee verus IC is determined by the IRS. If the employer (vendor) supervises your work or even reserves the right to supervise your work, then you are a employee. Most of have flown under the rador on this issue for years. If you are a employee, the vendor should address the matching taxes and carry comp. All kinds of case law on the issue. Real scary stuff.
    Life Member

    12/08/2008 10:13 PM
    Another two bits worth from an experienced comp adjuster. As it applies to Catastrophe Adjusters Workers' Compensation coverage is a snake pit. We live in one state, the employer is in another state and we work in a third state. All three states may have different Workers' Compensation laws and probably do. Are we contractors or employees? In some states we are contractors and in other states we are employees. To be covered under Workers' Compensation the injury has to arise out of and in the course of employment. Breaks, lunch, bathroom business and traveling to and from are not covered in most states even if you are an employee. Workers' Compensation benefits received are the result of protracted battles with the carrier and the state.

    While I agree with Alan that the IRS defines an employee, but it is the State Workers' Compensation Commission Law Judge and ultimately the State Supreme Court that determines whether or not you or I meet that definition. Getting a decision is a protracted battle that requires a specialized attorney.

    My considered advise is safety first and foremost.

    My experience is ask about Workers' Compensation coverage and get dismissed.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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