Legal Question in Construction Law in California

Does a sole proprietor need to provide workman's comp insurance to a laborer who works only 4 hours a day? and is there a workman's comp insurance that can be offered for 24-48 hours.

Asked on 2/20/15, 11:28 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jeannette Darrow Jeannette C.C. Darrow, Attorney at Law

You did not specify, but I'm guessing that since you posted this in 'construction law,' you are a licensed contractor. As a sole proprietor contractor, you must have workers' compensation insurance covering anyone who is doing work for you that is unlicensed, even if it is a temporary laborer. Unlike other fields, in construction, even 1099'd "independent contractors" are considered "employees" for purposes of the California Contractors License Laws if they do not have their own licenses. If you do not have coverage for everyone performing work for you, you can be deemed unlicensed, even if you have followed all other laws and have an active license.

You may be able to look into 'pay as you go' workers' compensation policies. Ask an insurance agent who specializes in policies for contractors.

The importance of this is underscored by a situation I saw recently, where a day laborer on a job for less than two hours was allegedly injured and made a workers' compensation claim against the contractor who did not have insurance. Let's just say that paying for the insurance would have been far cheaper than paying a workers' compensation claim for a day laborer.

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Answered on 2/21/15, 10:38 am

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