Farming is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. In 2015, 401 farmers and farm workers died from work-related injuries. Every day, approximately 100 more agricultural workers suffered serious injuries that required them to lose time from work.
The attorneys at Case Barnett Law value the important work done by agricultural workers and we are committed to helping those who have been injured, or their surviving family members, recover the damages that they deserve if they’ve been hurt.
Types of Farm Accidents
The risks that you face on a California farm depend on the types of crops or livestock on the farm, the equipment used, and other factors. Some types of farm accidents that can result in serious injury or death include:
- Tractor overturns. Tractor overturns are the leading cause of work-related deaths for farm workers. According to the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, driver inexperience is the most common cause of tractor overturn accidents. Tractors have a high center of gravity compared to other vehicles, which makes them more susceptible to rollovers than other vehicles.
- Other tractor accidents. Rollovers aren’t the only risk associated with tractors. Farm workers can also be seriously hurt or killed if they are run over by a tractor, if they get caught in or by the tractor, or if the tractor collides with something else.
- Farm structure falls. Building and maintenance is part of farm work. A fall from a piece of equipment, a ladder, or a grain bin, for example, could lead to serious injury or death.
- Suffocation accidents. Farm workers who get trapped in grain bins or silos may lack the oxygen that they need. If they are not rescued quickly, then they may suffer injuries or death from suffocation.
- Agricultural equipment injuries. Farm machinery is complex. Serious injuries that result in disfigurement, amputation, or death can result when a farm worker is caught in a piece of equipment, when a piece of equipment malfunctions, or when a farm worker is struck by or run over by a piece of equipment.
- Animal injuries. Farm animals can be unpredictable and strong. Bites, kicks, and other acts of aggression can occur when farm workers are not properly trained in how to manage and care for the animals.
- Chemical exposures. Pesticides and other chemicals can result in immediate injury or long-term illness. An acute injury, such as a burn, can occur when the chemical is being applied; a long-term illness, such a respiratory condition, can develop from repeated exposure.
Some farm accidents are just that—unforeseeable and unfortunate accidents; however, many agricultural accidents have specific causes.
Why Farm Accidents Happen
Farm workers are at risk of being hurt or killed in farm accidents because of:
- Defective products. If a machine or piece of equipment is not designed or manufactured correctly, then the user may be unable to control it and a serious accident can result.
- Improper equipment maintenance. Equipment and machinery must be properly maintained in order to function correctly. If this does not happen, then serious injuries can result.
- Improper safety training. Farming is dangerous work. All farm workers must receive appropriate training so that they know how to do their work safely.
- Insufficient supervision. All workers—particularly new workers or young workers—need to have appropriate supervision to make sure that they are doing their jobs safely.
- Negligent operation. Some accidents happen when farm workers are negligent. When an agricultural worker fails to exercise reasonable care then a serious accident can occur.
Any of these farm accidents causes can result in catastrophic injuries.
Common Injuries Suffered in Farm Accidents
As a farm worker, you may be at risk of one or more of the following injuries because of your job:
- Respiratory disease. Dangerous pesticides and chemicals that are regularly inhaled because of a farm worker’s regular proximity to these items can result in dangerous and deadly respiratory diseases.
- Cancers. Cancer can develop from exposure to pesticides and chemicals. Additionally, skin cancer is a risk from repeated exposure to the sun.
- Pesticide toxicity. Pesticides are meant to be poisonous to some animals and insects, but they can be toxic to humans as well.
- Musculoskeletal syndromes. The repetitive motion of farm work can result in serious and painful musculoskeletal injuries.
- Noise-induced hearing loss. The loud and repetitive noises of farm machinery can result in hearing loss.
- Broken bones. Falls and other farm accidents can result in broken bones.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries may occur after a fall from a farm structure or a motor vehicle accident.
- Brain injuries. Brain injuries can also occur after a fall or motor vehicle accident.
- Amputations. Limbs or digits that get stuck in machinery, run over by vehicles, or irreparably hurt in a fall may be amputated.
Some of these serious injuries may result in death.
What You May Recover in a Farm Accident Case
You shouldn’t have to pay for the injuries that you suffered in an agricultural accident. However, your recovery will not be automatic. Instead, you and your agricultural injury lawyer will need to fight for your fair recovery of medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, and pain and suffering. You may be able to recover these damages in a:
- Personal injury lawsuit, if a third party’s negligence caused your injury.
- Product liability lawsuit, if your injury was caused by a defective product.
- Wrongful death lawsuit, if your loved one died because of an injury sustained doing farm work.
Our experienced lawyers are committed to helping injured farm workers, or their surviving family members, make fair recoveries after serious agricultural accidents. You provide a vital service to our community, and we want to provide you with the help that you deserve to make a fair recovery. We will get to know you, we will take the time to understand how the farming accident impacted your life, and we will always answer all of your questions.
If you have suffered a serious injury, or if you have lost your loved one, then someone else may be responsible for paying your damages. Most cases end in settlements, but if a fair settlement cannot be reached then our team will take your case to trial to get you the recovery that you deserve. To learn more, please contact us today via this website or by phone to schedule an initial meeting.