Agriculture is one of the state’s most important industries, and it produces a massive portion of the produce consumed throughout the United States each year. There are tens of thousands of agricultural workers throughout the state, and every farm worker should know the risks they face at work and their rights when accidents happen. Any farm accident can potentially cause catastrophic or fatal injuries, and victims are likely to have many legal questions concerning their recovery options.
If you work in agriculture or plan to enter the industry, it’s vital to know the risks you could face each day at work. Knowing these risks can potentially help you reduce your risk of experiencing an injury. The attorneys at English, Lloyd & Armenta have years of experience representing injured farm workers in their workers’ compensation claims and related civil claims, and we have assessed a few of the biggest threats facing farm workers across the state.
- Injuries and Illness From Chemical Exposure
Agricultural work entails the use of all types of potentially hazardous substances, from fuel and oil for tractors and other farm equipment to pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. As a result, farm workers are especially vulnerable to respiratory illnesses, and many commercial agriculture products have been linked to cancer and other serious chronic medical conditions.
You have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim for an illness or chronic medical condition caused by your work conditions. However, it can be difficult to prove that injuries from chemical exposure resulted from your work duties. Therefore, if you or a loved one developed any adverse medical condition you believe resulted from chemical exposure while working on a farm, it’s vital to consult an attorney who can help you navigate your recovery efforts.
- Tractor and Heavy Equipment-Related Injuries
Farm workers must often use tractors for a wide range of important tasks, but these vehicles are inherently dangerous in many ways. Throughout the United States, tractor-related injuries are among the most commonly cited causes of work-related injuries and deaths in agriculture. Therefore, it’s vital for employers to ensure their tractors are in proper working order at all times and for their employees to possess the requisite training and experience to operate these vehicles safely.
- Injuries From Heat Exposure
The state may be renowned for beautiful weather during most of the year, but agricultural work in direct sunlight for hours at a time can be grueling and even dangerous. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are potentially fatal medical complications that can manifest unexpectedly. In addition, if a worker afflicted by heat exposure does not receive prompt medical care, they could potentially suffer life-changing medical complications such as permanent brain damage.
Recovering From a Farm Injury
If you or a loved one works on a farm and suffers an injury while working, a workers’ compensation claim can potentially cover your medical expenses and provide ongoing disability benefits until you are able to return to work. A workers’ compensation claim may not fully cover all of the losses your work-related injury caused, but it can provide expedient relief from the initial economic impact of the incident.
It’s possible to file a workers’ compensation claim on your own but working with an experienced attorney offers a much better chance of success. The attorneys at English, Lloyd & Armenta routinely represent injured California workers in their workers’ compensation claims; we can also help clients explore additional legal recourse when they have grounds for third-party personal injury claims and other civil actions. If you or a loved one suffered any work-related injury on a farm in the state, we could assist you with every phase of your recovery.
Q: What Is the Most Commonly Reported Farm Injury in California?
A: Overturned tractor accidents are responsible for many of the farm worker injuries, and fatalities reported each year. Tractors lack the safety features found in standard passenger vehicles and are commonly used on uneven terrain. Lack of training and experience, negligent handling, or failure to notice obstacles in the path of a tractor can all lead to severe injuries.
Q: What Type of Agricultural Work Is the Most Dangerous for Workers?
A: Any agricultural work that requires the use of heavy machinery, especially tractors, is most likely to result in serious worker injuries. Employers in the agriculture sector must ensure all tractors are in safe working condition, and the employees responsible for operating these vehicles must have appropriate training and experience.
Q: Can I Sue My Employer for a Farm Work Injury?
A: Workers’ compensation insurance covers most injured farm workers. If you are able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, you are likely barred from filing a civil suit against your employer. There are exceptions to this rule, such as an employer causing a farm work injury through some intentional misconduct. An employer can also face civil liability for a farm worker’s injury if they do not have appropriate workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
Q: Should I Hire an Attorney to Help Me With My Workers’ Compensation Claim in California?
A: If you need to file a workers’ compensation claim in response to your recent farm work injury, having an attorney assist you will significantly improve your chances of success. Your legal team can address discrepancies that might arise and address any suspected bad faith on the part of the insurance carrier.
Q: How Much Does a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Cost to Hire?
A: The attorneys at English, Lloyd & Armenta accept workers’ compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning our client pays no upfront legal fees. When we win your case, we take a percentage of the final case award as our fee. You owe nothing if we fail to secure a settlement on your behalf. Therefore, there is no risk in hiring our team to represent you in your workers’ compensation claim for a farm injury.
The attorneys at English, Lloyd & Armenta have extensive professional experience with both workers’ compensation claims and personal injury cases in California. If you or a loved one recently suffered a work-related injury on a farm, we can help you determine your best options for recovery. Contact us today and schedule your consultation with us to learn more about the legal services we provide.