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Is this job injury considered "personal injury"? Liability insurance?

Santa Monica, CA |

I was on a freelance writing assignment and I was injured in a pretty serious accident/fall. The hiring editor explained that I am "freelance" and ineligible for worker's comp (looking into this). She also refuses to connect me with HR. Should I be covered under some type of liability insurance, though? I have to take 2 weeks off from my other job, and needed stitches and dental work. I have a police report and hospital records. Isn't she required to connect me with HR? And aren't they required to have some type of liability / personal injury insurance? I'm just wondering how to phrase it when asking hr.

I would like them to pay for my medical/dental, and also ideally for the time off and there is possibility some of my personal property was damaged. How should I approach this?

Attorney Answers 8

  1. As a freelance journalist it sounds like you were a subcontractor instead of an employee of theirs. If true you likely do not qualify for work comp. With regard to the fall, more information is needed to advise you if a lawyer could help. Was there a hidden dangerous condition that was the cause of your fall? We're did the fall happen? Commercial establishments such as stores have higher duties to inspect and protects their guests from dangerous conditions than homeowners. More info is needed.

  2. Workers compensation eligibility depends on an analysis of whether or not you were an independent contractor or not. The employer's own self serving proclamation that you are "freelance" is not the final word. Consult with an attorney who regularly practices workers compensation in your jurisdiction for the correct legal alalysis.

    The issue is whether one has been injured in the course of employment as defined by workers compensation law and is therefore eligible for benefits.

    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.

  3. Depending on the circumstances you are covered under workers comp. but also there may be a liability claim. Contact a local attorney here.


  4. If this occurred on California and you were working for a California company, then you should call and consult a California personal injury/work comp attorney.

    There are two potential claims.

    If you are really an independent contractor it is unlikely that you should receive comp benefits; however, there are certain exceptions. We have dealt with this issue on other cases. The outcome will be based on specific facts having to do with the job you were doing at the time.

    As to the fall claim against someone other than your employer, you need to prove fault (unlike comp where you have to prove arising out of employment/course of employment). To prevail in a fall case, you have to show that there was a dangerous condition which caused you to fall and that the premises owner and/or occupier knew or reasonably should have known it was there. You should call an attorney and talk about the details of the fall to determine whether or not the fall claim ought to be pursued. We handle these as well and would be happy to give you a free consultation (949)851-0222 or look at our website for helpful information at or call any of the qualified attorneys here on AVVO for more information.

    Marc Lazarus

  5. You ask a good question. Which way to proceed will depend on the facts of your case. You should consult with a lawyer. There are many good lawyers in the West Los Angeles/Santa Monica area. On Avvo, I have seen several lawyer who I know post excellent responses to questions. Please contact myself or several of us to talk about the facts of your case.

  6. A local workers comp lawyer can see if you qualify for workers comp, and whether there may be a 3rd party claim.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755

  7. You should report this to HR and you should request them to open up a workers compensation claim for you. Depending upon how the fall happened and what caused it, you may also have a claim against the property owner where the fall occurred and possibly other persons/entities. You should follow up with a call or in person consultation with a personal injury attorney.

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.

  8. If you are an independent contractor, you most likely do not have worker's compensation rights. However, there is a stringent test as to whether you were a contractor versus an employee. Employees have more rights, including Worker's Comp rights. CA judges err on the side of granting employee status. You should consult a CA employment lawyer for this matter. I recommend picking a local lawyer from CELA - California Employment Lawyer's Association. Check out

    Regarding the slip and fall. You advocate needs to be able to demonstrate that the owner/manager of the premises knew or should have known of the danger, and that they are at fault in causing your injury. I recommend finding a personal injury attorney in your area who will review and possibly take your case on a contingency basis.

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