Agriculture is important both to those who work in the farming industry and those who rely on the commodities produced. But what many frequently do not realize is that working in the agriculture and farming industry carries some serious risks. Statistics show that Illinois farm workers are more than 7 times more likely to be involved in a serious or even deadly accident than are workers in any other type of industry. Injuries suffered in farm accidents can result in loss of income, overwhelming medical expenses, permanent impairment, and even death. Victims of catastrophic farm injuries and their families can be left in financial and emotional ruin.
Many farming accidents occur due to defective, malfunctioning, poorly maintained, or misused equipment. Following proper safety guidelines and maintaining machinery is the responsibility of the farm owner or equipment operator. Other accidents may be caused by inexperienced, poorly trained or careless co-workers. Injuries that can result from negligence, misuse of equipment, or willfully ignoring safety regulations may include broken bones, loss of limbs, paralysis, brain injury, suffocation, and electrocution, to name just a few.
A Bloomington attorney with experience in handling farm injury claims could work to help you recover the monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries, the resulting pain and suffering, and any financial losses or expenses you may experience as a result of the negligence or fault of another.
What Type of Farm Accidents May Entitle Me to Compensation?
Farm workers can be injured in a variety of ways. An agricultural job may involve working with large equipment, large farm animals, a wide variety of chemicals, or any combination of these. Farm workers may also be working with other workers who may or may not have the experience and/or training required to operate safely on the job.
Accidents involving farm workers can be caused by things like:
- Grain collapse
- Grain bin or silo accidents
- Equipment overturn
- Auger accidents
- Combine accidents
- Collisions with tractors or other farming vehicles
- Equipment safety mechanism failure
- Equipment malfunctions
- Equipment defects
- Farming tool injuries
- Farm animal injuries
- Chemical fertilizer or pesticide exposures
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Injuries related to weather extremes of heat or cold
- Noise related injuries from loud equipment
- Ventilation system failures
Does Workers’ Compensation Apply to Farm Injuries?
Unlike other professions, often farm workers are not covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305). Workers’ compensation coverage depends on the 400 day rule, which provides that the act does not apply to any “agricultural enterprise…employing less than 400 working days of agricultural labor per quarter during the preceding calendar year, exclusive of working hours of the employer’s spouse and other members of his or her immediate family residing with him or her.” (820 ILCS 305/3). An experienced Bloomington farm injury attorney can determine whether or not you may be covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
If your attorney determines you aren’t covered by the Act, that does not mean that you cannot receive financial compensation for the losses you suffer as a result of an injury in your agricultural job. Your claim will be treated like any other personal injury claim. An attorney who is experienced in handling claims related to farm injuries will be familiar with identifying the party or parties who are responsible and how they can be held liable for your injury. These may include the farm owner, the equipment manufacturer, a maintenance company, a product manufacturer, or another farm worker.
Determining whether an accident is related to negligence, carelessness, poor maintenance of equipment, misuse of equipment, ignoring safety regulations or any other factor is vital to determining who should be held liable for your injury. An attorney who has handled farm worker injury claims will know the questions to ask and the information to gather to handle your claim.
What Kind of Compensation Might I Be Entitled To?
The type of compensation you may be entitled to receive will be dependent on a number of factors; the type of injury or injuries you suffered, how you may be impacted by your injuries in the future, the extent of the pain and suffering that were endured by you and your family as a result of your injuries, costs related to your injury such as medical bills, loss of income, loss of potential future earnings, and other expenses that you may have experienced that were related to your injuries.
An attorney who has experience with personal injury cases related to farm and agricultural accidents will be best able to assemble and present all the factors that should be considered when determining the type of compensatory award that you may receive as a result of the negligence or fault of another that lead to the injury you suffered. An experienced Bloomington farm injury lawyer can assist with pinpointing any and all liable parties, managing filing and paperwork deadlines, investigate the claim, interview witnesses, explore insurance coverages, handle negotiations on your behalf, and take your case to court if necessary.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of an on the job farm injury, please contact our office today for a free, no-obligation consultation.