Workers’ Compensation Insurance


You’re a trainer, barn owner, barn manager –why is it important to carry workers’ compensation insurance?

A busy hunter-jumper trainer needs help with stalls while away at horse shows and hires a stall cleaner to work at the farm every morning for the remainder of the show circuit. The diligent worker gets kicked by a stall-sour mare while mucking out stalls; as the business owner are you responsible for paying medical costs relating to this worker’s injury?

As with many areas in law, the answer is—it depends. In California, employers must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. However, workers’ compensation benefits are not required for independent contractors. While equestrian professionals may claim that they do not need to provide workers’ compensation insurance because their workers are all independent contractors, this classification is determined by multiple factors, not necessarily how you, as the employer, think of them. Consequently, many equine professionals are assuming great risk of potential legal liability, criminal penalties, and expensive back taxes by misclassifying their employees as independent contractors.