When someone is injured at work, they are entitled to workers compensation under Indiana’s workers compensation statute. This statute states that if a person suffers personal injury or death when on the job, they or their family are entitled to compensation for the lost time and wages. However, cases have arisen in Indiana and other states regarding when there is an employment relationship between a group and a person or two different people. There are several factors that can help determine whether or not an employment relationship exists, and an Indiana case has addressed these factors in detail.
The Case: Hale v. Kemp
In this case, a young man, Eugene Kemp, suffered injury when he was shocked by overhead powerlines when a steel archway came into contact with those lines as Kemp attempted to move it. Kemp was doing odd jobs for a neighbor, one George Tabor. The steel archway was being moved by a forklift driven by Lindsey Hale.
Tabor had stated that he had no intention of keeping Kemp in his employment for his painting business. However, Kemp sealed bricks on the pavement, mowed lawns, and did various other jobs around the premises. Kemp had been working for Tabor for two weeks when this accident occurred. Kemp stated at trial that at the time he believed he was only working under Tabor’s employ when he was dealing with the archways and helping Hale.
The question brought before the court was whether there existed an employment relationship between Tabor and Hale, and Tabor and Kemp, and whether Kemp was entitled to workers compensation if in fact an employment relationship did exist. The court addressed these issues, and determined there were seven factors that should be used when attempting to see if an employer-employee relationship does exist.
The court held that when determining if an employment relationship exists, a fact finder must look at (1) whether someone has a right to discharge another; (2) the mode of payment; (3) whether tools or equipment are supplied; (4) belief of the parties in the existence of an employer-employee relationship; (5) whether a person has control over the means used to reach the desired result; (6) the length of employment; and (7) whether work boundaries were established.
In this case, the Court used these factors and concluded that Kemp was not under the employ of Hale or Tabor in this case because of the casual nature of his employment. Because Hale only held authority when Kemp was working on moving the steel archways, and because Tabor only casually gave Kemp jobs, Kemp was not an employee and therefore not entitled to workers compensation for his injury.
What Does This Mean for Me?
If you are injured while doing a job, you may be entitled to workers compensation. However, in order to prove you are eligible for workers compensation by showing that there was a clear employer-employee relationship. If, using the seven factors as listed above, a fact-finder (juror or judge) finds that such a relationship existed, then you are entitled to workers compensation for any injuries you may have suffered on the job.
Have You Been Injured on a Job?
Contact the experienced attorneys at Hurst Limontes, LLC today! Our attorneys have experience in the area of workers compensation and fight for our clients to get them fair and just compensation for their injuries! Call or email today for a free consultation.