I am not required to carry workers′ compensation insurance under the law; however, my general contractor says that I need to provide proof of workers′ compensation insurance coverage. Can he do this?

Yes. Under the Missouri workers′ compensation law, sole proprietors and partners must individually elect to purchase a valid workers′ compensation insurance policy for themselves. The general contractor hires a subcontractor, doing same or similar types of work (e.g. building construction). The subcontractor states he is a sole proprietor and therefore he is not legally required to carry workers′ compensation insurance coverage on himself. However, because that subcontractor has chosen to not purchase an insurance policy, that subcontractor is therefore uninsured. Because that subcontractor is uninsured, the general contractor may become liable for injuries that the subcontractor may sustain while working on that job. If the subcontractor is uninsured, the insurance company for the general contractor may be required to pay claims, and, as a result, will charge premium for that uninsured subcontractor. The general contractor′s workers′ compensation insurance policy will dictate how premium would be calculated, what records are needed to compute the premium, and the audit of the records relating to the policy. The general contractor needs to provide proof to its insurance carrier that the sub or independent contractor has secured its own workers′ compensation obligations to avoid paying premium. Therefore, the general can require the subcontractor to provide proof of workers′ compensation insurance coverage.

The issue of whether an employer-employee relationship exists between employer, on the one hand, and the injured employee on the other hand, is determined by the Administrative Law Judge and is based upon the evidence submitted in a particular case. The statutory provision that needs to be examined is Section 287.040 RSMo.

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