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John, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  Licensed and practicing attorney helping businesses achieve their legal and practical goals.
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Workers Disability Compensation Insurance Form Question

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I own a company called Elegant Greens LLC in Michigan. I hired a subcontractor for just over 4 months who claims to have gotten hurt on the job and stopped showing up to work. This individual/sole proprietor filled out a W-9 completely with his name and identified himself as an individual/sole proprietor. He also filled in the following written document. I ___________ realize that Elegant Greens LLC is hiring me as a subcontractor. I ___________ also realize that I need to provide my own medical and liability insurance to cover myself in case of any emergency, accident or problem that may happen a the job site. Printed name:___________ Signature:____________ Date:______. He has filed for Worker's Disability Compensation Insurance. The green document sent certified mail wants me to fill out the following information parts A and B.  PART A:  Name of business, federal employer identification number, name of workers compensation policy number, effective date of policy.  PART B:  Current names of business, federal employer identification number of the business, name of the workers compensation insurance company, current workers compensation policy number, effective date of policy, current number of employees in Michigan and Remarks:_______ I do not have a policy number or any actual employees, I only have hired subcontractors because that is what my tax lady has told me is best for my small business. Can I get some advice on how to fill in this form please?

Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m happy to assist you with your question today. I’m sorry to hear abut this.

When this person attempted to file a claim with workers comp they would have queried your records and of course found nothing. This is an attempt to identify your carrier and workers comp information so the employee can individually file a claim. What you'll want to do is simply be honest and answer "not applicable" because we are a single member llc with no employees.

Now, when the agency receives this, they'll send you a further inquiry to determine if this person was legally a contractor or an employee. If one company hires another company to come in and do some work for it, the second company is ordinarily an "independent contractor" and not an employee of the first company. Sometimes, however, a company hires one person to come in and perform a specific job and disputes arise as to whether or not that person is an employee or an independent contractor. Section 161(1)(n) of the Act states that if the worker does not maintain a separate business, does not hold himself or herself out to and render service to the public, and does not employ other workers, the worker will be considered an employee.An individual for whom an employer is required to withhold federal income tax is prima facie considered to perform service in employment under this act. If a business entity requests the Michigan administrative hearing system to determine whether 1 or more individuals performing service for the entity in this state are in covered employment, the Michigan administrative hearing system shall issue a determination of coverage of service performed by those individuals and any other individuals performing similar services under similar circumstances.

I'm not saying here that this particular worker is or is not an independent contractor, but it appears you are going to have a dispute. The contract you had him sign will weigh in your favor but it is not the end of the story. The determination will largely depend on your level of control of the work - did you control his hours, duties, provide the tools to do work etc. I'd recommend you seek legal counsel in your area as there likely is going to be a dispute and the ramifications can be significant in that you'd have to pay workers comp out of pocket if you lose and the workers comp agency will consider you to be an "employer" if you lose.

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