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Can Massage Therapists Collect Workers’ Compensation From Their Employer?

An employer in California is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if it has one or more employees. The general rule in the context of eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits is that if an employee is injured in the course and scope of his or her employment by an anticipated and foreseeable risk of that employment, that employee is eligible to collect those benefits. Here are some common injuries that are suffered by massage therapists:

  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Tendinitis.
  • Shoulder labrum and rotator cuff tears.
  • Back strains and sprains and displaced or herniated discs.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Most workers’ compensation claims are resolved without any disputes. Then, there are the minority of workers’ compensation claims when disagreements arise between the claimant and the respondent. One of those points of contention is whether the claimant was ever an employee of the respondent in the first place.

Are You an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

Employees have access to benefits that independent contractors simply don’t have. One of those rights involves workers’ compensation benefits. For example, whether a massage therapist was an employee or an independent contractor at the time of suffering an injury can get legally cloudy quickly. Here’s how the issue is determined in California.

Who is In Control?

In determining eligibility for workers’ compensation at the time of an on-the-job injury, who was in control of the employee at the time of the injury is of critical importance. That’s commonly known as the manner and means test, and that’s what California ordinarily uses to decide whether a person who is making a workers’ compensation claim is an employee or an independent contractor.

The Manner and Means Test

A business or entity has a great degree of control over how much an employee earns, his or her hours at work and how that individual performs his or her job. Pursuant to section 2750 of the California Labor Code, a contract of employment is formed when an employer engages an employee to do something either for the employer or a third party. On the other hand, an independent contractor is in business for himself or herself. These people are free to set their own schedules and decide when they’re going to work, how they’re going to do the work and where they’re going to do their work. If they don’t want to go to work and go to the beach for the day, that’s fine. The only repercussions might be with their clients.

The Degree of Control

Quite simply, the more control that a business or entity has over how somebody does their job, the higher the probability is that a person injured at work will be determined to be an employee. Even if a business or entity doesn’t have control over how somebody does their job, they can still be considered an employer if they’ve expressly or impliedly reserved the right to exercise control over how the job is performed. Aside from that, a wide range of other factors can be used to show whether an employer and employee relationship exists, even if a massage therapist works away from a business premises and travels from location to location.

Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney, Alice A. Strömbom, focuses exclusively on Workers’ Compensation Law and the rights of injured workers. She is very familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to avoid providing the medical treatment and disability benefits injured workers deserve, and has a recognized track record in combating such issues.

Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.