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I’ve Been Hurt in a Farming Accident – What Are My Compensation Options?

“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds.”Thomas Jefferson

As a farmer, you’re essential to Missouri‘s economy and the well-being of the country. Your work provides food, textiles and other critical materials to keep us going. Missouri is home to over 95,000 farms, employing 460,000 people across the state. Missouri agriculture is vital. 

However, it’s hard work. Farming is widely recognized as a challenging career due to the amount of physical labor, long hours and time outside in the elements. You have to go through a lot day in and day out to complete the task at hand. 

You put your body on the line to provide essential goods. What should you do if you’ve been hurt? 

Keep reading to learn more about farming accidents and injuries and possible avenues for compensation for your injury. 

Visit our practice areas page for an informative overview of our workers’ compensation or personal injury practices. 

Common Farming Accidents and Agricultural Worker Injuries

Due to the nature of the work, farming and agricultural jobs are amongst the most dangerous in the United States. According to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, in 2021, workers in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry experienced one of the highest fatality rates. In 2020, 11,880 injuries in agricultural production required days away from work. 

One study from Penn State shared by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture found that the most common injuries that farmers and agricultural workers sustained were fractures, followed by open wounds and amputations. What farming accidents can cause these injuries? Some sources of reported farming injuries include:

  • Machinery – Large machinery and vehicles, like tractors and combine harvesters, are essential to farm work. However, a lack of training or maintenance can make these critical pieces of the operation dangerous. 
  • Livestock – Dealing with livestock can quickly go awry if you haven’t received the necessary training or been given the right equipment. Getting stepped on, kicked, bitten or pinned against a wall or the ground by large animals can cause serious injury. 
  • Hand tools – Most hand tools that agricultural workers use require a high level of skill and concentration. Many of these tools are heavy or sharp, which can lead to injury if they are misused.
  • Weather-related illness – When you have to spend a lot of time outdoors for your livelihood, extreme temperatures can lead you to suffer weather-related illnesses. You can experience heat exhaustion or stroke in the summer without proper hydration or clothing.

Even if you show an abundance of caution, it’s possible that poor working conditions, a careless coworker or your employer’s negligence can cause an injury. If you get injured while you’re working, what should you do?

The First Two Steps of Care

Before we dive into whether your injury should be a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury suit, let’s look at the two things you need to do regardless of your compensation options. 

Report Your Injury

You need to report your injury to your supervisor or employer as soon as possible. At the latest, you need to report your injury within 30 days of the injury or discovery of the injury. You can learn more about the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations in our article here. While you can try to work through the pain, the longer you put off reporting your injury, the less likely you will be able to receive compensation for it. 

The Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations requires injury reports to have the following:

  • The date, time and place of the injury
  • The nature of the injury
  • Your name and address

Regardless of your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance status, a detailed account of your injury or illness is crucial to getting the compensation you need. 

Seek Medical Help

While your employer may offer basic first aid for your injury, you should seek medical attention immediately. A medical professional can assess your injury so you understand the full extent of the damage to your body. If you wait, you risk reaggravation of your injury, making it more difficult for a medical professional to connect the injury to the incident that caused it. 

Workers’ Compensation for Agricultural Workers

While most employers are required to offer workers’ compensation to their employees, there are a few exceptions. One of the exceptions for Missouri employers is farm labor. However, many employers that hire farm labor may offer workers’ compensation to limit their exposure to a civil lawsuit. 

If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, the claim process will begin once you file your injury report. Regardless of whether or not your claim is accepted, speaking with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer about your injury is a good idea. If your claim is accepted, you want to ensure you get fair compensation for your injury. If your claim is denied, a workers’ compensation lawyer can go over possible next steps to get the compensation you need to recover. 

Personal Injury Lawsuits for Agricultural Workers

If you were injured due to your employer’s negligence and they don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, you should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your options for compensation. In your initial consultation, your lawyer will review your injury with you and present some realistic outcomes for your case. You want to make sure to choose a lawyer who is willing to fight for you.

Whether your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance isn’t willing to give you fair compensation or your employer isn’t insured, make sure to get the sound legal advice you need from a group of highly experienced and dedicated attorneys. Learn more about excellent traits in a personal injury lawyer here

Eng & Woods has been serving the people of Missouri with excellent legal advice and representation since 1953. We want to help you obtain the compensation you deserve to recover and care for your family. Visit our contact page today to get in touch and see how we can help you.

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    1000 West Nifong Boulevard, Building 7
    Suite 201
    Columbia, Missouri 65203
    Phone: 573-874-4190
    Fax: 573-874-4192
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