You may not think that working on a farm could be a dangerous profession, but the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) considers agriculture one of the most hazardous industries in the United States. The NIOSH found that around 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury every day.
In 2016, 417 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury, most of which were in transportation accidents like tractor overturns. A device called a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) with a seatbelt is the most effective way to prevent tractor overturn deaths, but in 2014, the NIOSH reported that only 62 percent of tractors used on farms were equipped with ROPS.
Types of Accidents Involving Farm Equipment
- Tractors – Besides rollover accidents, tractor accidents can occur on public roads when a faster vehicle may not notice the tractor moving slowly. These vehicles should be equipped with a Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) symbol, which is an orange triangle. It’s also recommended that flashers are used whenever farm equipment is traveling on a public road.
- Other Vehicles – Accidents involving equipment like hay balers, grain augers, corn pickers, combines, and brush hog mowers are common. Many do not display proper safety warnings in visible locations.
- Exposure to Pesticides and Other Toxic Chemicals – Both short- and long-term exposure can result in poisoning, respiratory problems, and skin damage.
- Structures – Places like grain storage bins and silos can cause several different types of accidents. Gases can build up, causing asphyxiation or an explosion. Structure collapses can also trap, injure, and kill workers.
If I’m Injured in a Farming Accident, What Should I Do?
The first thing you should do when injured is to seek medical attention for your injuries.
You will also need to notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible, and get the names and contact information of anyone who was a witness to the incident.
If possible, you should take photos of the area where you were injured, the injuries themselves, and the equipment involved in your injury. You should also see if it is possible to retain the equipment from the injury.
Personal injury cases stemming from farm equipment injuries are unique because, often, there are more people and companies involved than in a standard worker’s compensation case.
You may be entitled to worker’s compensation from your accident. However, farm vehicles and equipment are operated by subcontractors or other companies, and they each carry different types of insurance designed to deflect personal injury complaints. Farm equipment manufacturers may also be on the hook in a personal injury case, and they will have their insurance companies working against you as well.
If you’re struggling with either worker’s compensation benefits or dealing with insurance companies of a manufacturer or subcontractor, you need representation. Anyone – regardless of age or citizenship status – is entitled to representation in the wake of a farm equipment accident.
The lawyers at Stewart & Stewart are among the most experienced in the state of Indiana when it comes to personal injury lawsuits – especially when it comes to protecting farm workers. We’ll take on companies (both large and small) and hold them responsible, so you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you – call 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information. Our consultations are no-risk – our experts will lay out the prospect of your case so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.