Hurt in Houston- Construction Accident Lawyer

Are you an employee or a contractor?


You may not think about the question when you go to work.

It becomes critical if you suffer injuries on a construction job. It can help determine whether you can get paid for your injuries. It can also help you choose how to make a claim.

You may think that your status depends on how you get paid. If you get a W-2, you are an employee. If you get a 1099 form, you are an independent contractor (IC). For tax purposes, that may be true. However, courts use many factors to determine if you are an employee.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has guidelines for classifying workers. TWC does not handle injuries. But their rules are great for helping determine your status.

Employers are responsible for correctly labeling workers. Neither the business nor the worker can choose the classification. It is the presence of direction and control that determines the relationship. That is true even if the parties have an oral or written agreement.

As per the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA, the main four reasons for development fatalities, or development passings, are falls, being struck by moving items, being gotten in a space, for example, in an unguarded trench and electric shocks

The Salazar Law Firm | Construction Injury Lawyer
The Salazar Law Firm | Construction Injury Lawyer

Whether someone is an IC or an employee depends on

  • Service
  • Wages
  • Direction
  • Control

While the TWC deals with unemployment compensation, not workplace injuries, their guidance can help determine worker status. They have a 20-point checklist that can help that determination.

Fall Injuries & Death

People in charge of construction sites can be liable for failing to provide proper fall arrest equipment, failure to install and maintain perimeter control, failure to cover and secure and label floor openings, neglecting to guarantee that stepping stools and platforms are utilized securely, and arrangement of uncalled for “man lifts” or work force boxes, among other careless acts and exclusions.

TWC Checklist

  • Instructions
  • Training
  • Integration
  • Services rendered personally
  • Hiring, supervising, and paying helpers
  • Continuing relationship
  • Set hours of work
  • Full time required
  • The location where services performed
  • Order or sequence set
  • Oral or written reports
  • Payment by the hour, week, or month
  • Payment of business and travel expenses
  • Furnishing tools and equipment
  • Significant investment
  • Realize profit or loss
  • Working for more than one firm at a time
  • Making service available to the public
  • Right to discharge without liability
  • Right to quit without liability


Employees get instructions about when, where, and how to do their work. Contractors do their job with minimal instructions about when, where, and how.


Employees may receive training from their employer. ICs are responsible for their training.


An IC’s services are distinct from the firm’s other business. Employees help determine a firm’s success.

Services Rendered Personally

Employees must personally render services. Contractors can hire, pay, and supervise helpers to complete their work.

Hiring, Supervising, and Paying Helper

Employees can manage other employees, but the firm is responsible for paying those employees. Contractors hire, pay, and supervise their helpers.

Continuing Relationship

Employees may have long-term relationships with employers. Firms hire ICs to complete a job. They often have no expectation of work continuing after that job ends.

Set Hours of Work

The employer sets work hours for an employee. ICs set their hours.

Full Time Required

While employees can be part-time, employers have priority over an employee’s time. Contractors are not required to work full-time for a firm.


Employers can mandate where employees work. Contractors get to choose where they work. Of course, for construction, contractors will probably need to do the majority of their work on a construction site.


Employers dictate the sequence for employees to complete their work. Contractors can choose their order as long as they provide the agreed-upon finished product.


Firms do not usually require contractors to submit reports on work progress.

Payment Regularity

Firms pay employees hourly, monthly, or weekly. Contractors get paid per job.

Payment of Expenses

Contractors are responsible for their expenses. Employees may seek reimbursement for business and travel expenses.

Tools and Equipment

Employers usually furnish tools and equipment for their employees. Contractors typically provide all of their tools and equipment. However, in construction, employees may have their tools. Likewise, contractors may use tools or equipment, especially the firm’s heavy equipment.

Significant Investment

Employees do not have a significant investment in the business. Contractors have a financial interest in their business.

Profit or Loss

Employees do not usually see a profit or a loss. However, they can get bonuses or share in profits. ICs experience gains or losses.

Working for Multiple Firms

Contractors can work for multiple firms at one time. While employees can have more than one job, they usually work for a single employer at a time.

Public Availability

Employees work through their firms. Contractors can make their services available to the public.

Right to Discharge

Texas is a right-to-work state, so that employers can discharge employees at any time for any non-discriminatory reason without liability. As long as a contractor’s work meets the contract terms, terminating them is a breach of contract.

Right to Quit

Employees can quit at any time without liability. Contractors must complete the job or be liable for breach of contract.

Contact The Salazar Law Firm

Not sure if you are an employee or an independent contractor? Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with us. We can give you our opinion of your employment relationship and develop a legal strategy based on that information.  Contact our construction accident lawyer at 281-857-6770 for a free initial case evaluation if you have suffered a serious personal injury or your family member has been killed because of a construction hazard.