Many would not guess that agricultural jobs are ranked among the most dangerous jobs available. With large machinery, animals and a wide variety of chemicals, there are countless ways workers can hurt themselves. Regardless of the size of the farm, many injuries and even fatalities happen every year on farms across the U.S.
When it comes to the investigation and prosecution of Illinois farm accident injuries, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is truly committed to your case. Our attorneys will take the steps necessary to gather the evidence and determine the responsible parties and ultimately hold them accountable for their actions in court. We invite you to contact our Illinois farm accident lawyers today for a free review of your case.
If you or a family member was injured while working in a farm, you are likely entitled to workers compensation benefits. Contact the workers compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC for more information and a free review of your legal rights and options.
Farm Injury Statistics: A Discouraging Perspective on Worker Safety
The agricultural industry is comprised of everything from large industrial operations to smaller, family run farms. It is one of the few businesses that often have families that live and work on the farm of various ages, not just adult workers. According to the Center for Disease Control, farming is a high-risk business with many a large capacity for serious and fatal injuries.
- In 2010, there were an estimated 1.8 million full-time workers and over 5 million combined workers in the agricultural industry. In the same year 476 farm workers lost their lives from work-related accidents. An average of 243 farm workers are injured every day, with 5% of these injuries resulting in permanent impairment.
- Over 1 million children under the age of 20 live on farms, with over half of them performing work on the farm. In 2009, there were also an additional 230,000 adolescents that worked on farms that do not reside on farms. An average of 113 children under 20 years of age die each year on farms in farm work-related accidents.
- In 2009, there were 16, 100 children and adolescents injured on farms, 3,400 directly related to work injuries.
- Older farm workers are at high risk for fatalities. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data shows that workers over 55 years of age were the victims of over half of the agriculture worker deaths between 1992- 2004.
- Tractor overturns are the leading cause of death, accounting for 90 deaths annually on farms. Many of these could have been prevented with the use of Roll-Over Protective Structures, but in 2010, only 59% of tractors were equipped with these devices.
- According to OSHA, the rate for farm worker injuries was 20% higher in 2010 then other types of work injuries, with 4.8 injuries per 100 versus 3.8 per 100 for all other workers.
Types Of Farm Accidents
Depending on the type of farm, there is a wide-variety of accidents that can happen in day-to-day agricultural work. Although tractor accidents are the leading cause of fatalities there are many types of equipment and other hazards for agricultural workers to contend with.
- Equipment malfunctions
- Chemical exposures
- Animal injuries
- Equipment defects
- Combine, grain bins and other equipment accidents
Some accidents can be due to improper training or use of safety gear. It is up to farm owners to provide a safe and healthy work environment just like any other employer. However, many of these injuries also happen to the farm owners and their families due to no fault of their own.
There have been many cases of malfunctioning or defective equipment and machinery that has put agricultural workers and farm-owning families at risk for injury. There are also chemical and pesticides that may be harmful that do not have the proper warning information provided. In these cases, the fault is often the makers and manufacturers of the agricultural equipment and products.
The agricultural industry is part of what makes the U.S. sustainable and helps feed not only Americans, but people from across the world. It is necessary to the economy and well being of the country. However, it is a dangerous industry and agricultural workers must strive to use any safety precautions they can to keep themselves safe. It is also the owners of these farms duty to provide the proper safety equipment and training for their workers.Illinois Accident Attorneys Representing People Who Have Suffered An Injury At A Farm
Many agricultural injuries involve powerful machinery and are truly life changing events for the individuals involved. Frequently, these injuries are magnified due to delayed medical attention or inadequate medical attention in rural areas. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understands the issues involved in these cases and work to secure the maximum recovery from all responsible parties.
Contact a Farm Workers Compensation & Injury Law Firm
In significant Illinois farm injury cases, our attorneys commonly investigate the role of: land owners, product manufacturers, management companies, maintenance companies and other workers on the farm– all with an eye towards protecting the rights of our clients. Call our personal injury law office today and let us begin the process of determining who is responsible. (888) 424-5757
How Much is my Farm Injury Case Worth?
While there are many factors that contribute to the value of your farm injury case such as: medical expenses, lost income, pain and disability (only mention if not mentioned earlier on the page) the cases below will hopefully give you some insight into how these cases are valued by juries, lawyers and insurance companies. While these cases can be instructive, they should not be conclusive in valuing your particular situation.
Plaintiff Verdict for $2.313 in Minnesota (2018) – The plaintiff was hooking up a farm tractor to a vertical manure pump that was owned and controlled by the defendant. The stabilizer stand that was part of the manure pump collapsed without warning and caused the weight of the Blazer pump to fall onto the plaintiff. Among other injuries, the plaintiff sustained multiple fractured vertebrae in his lumbar spine that required spinal fusion surgery and he was hospitalized for eight days and unable to work for nearly a year. The lawsuit claimed that the screw that was inserted into part of the pump had failed, and there were product liability claims against the maker of the device. Both the designer of the pump and the owner were each found partially liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Plaintiff Verdict for $15,807,875 in Texas (2016) – The plaintiff was using a utility vehicle when she was feeding and moving cattle at her family’s farm. She had stopped the vehicle with the engine still on when she went to open a gate. A bag of cattle cubes fell on the accelerator pedal. This switched off the parking brake and started the engine. The vehicle accelerated forward, strike the plaintiff and ran her over. This caused multiple cervical vertebrae fractures and the result was that she became a quadriplegic. The plaintiff asserted the claim against the manufacturer of the utility vehicle, but the court ultimately found her to be fifty percent responsible for the accident, reducing her damage award.
Settlement for $800,000 in New York (No Date Given) – The plaintiff was working at a farm and was attempting to clear soil from a plant container filling machine. The plaintiff was trying to remove soil from the machine and his arm became stuck in the device. The cutoff switch was too far away for him to reach and his arm was crushed. He suffered severe nerve damage to his arm and completely lost the use of his dominant right arm. The plaintiff contended that the machine was defective. The lawsuit was regarding the soil machine as opposed to being filed against the farm where the plaintiff worked.
Plaintiff Verdict for $4.475 million in California (2015) – The plaintiff was working as a fruit harvester in grapefruit trees with a ladder. He died when the ladder came into contact with overhead power lines and he was electrocuted. The estate filed suit against multiple defendants including the farm, the power company and the tree service charged with maintaining the area near the power lines. The decedent’s brother witnessed the incident and also filed a claim for emotional distress caused by seeing his brother die. The jury found for the plaintiff, but assigned most of the legal liability to the power company. The farm was found to be five percent responsibility for the incident.
Settlement for $2.65 million in California (2016) – The lawsuit was brought by the family of a farm maintenance worker who died when the old fuel tank that he was instructed to weld exploded. One of the other laborers had been instructed to move the fuel tank the day before and noticed a black liquid leaking, however the decedent was not informed that the tank contained any type of fuel although others knew that this used to be a fuel tank and could explode if welded. As soon as the decedent approached the fuel tank with a lit torch, the fuel tank exploded.
Plaintiff Verdict for $557,608 in California (2008) – The plaintiff was assisting someone with changing a gear box on a feed wagon on a farm. The defendant had used a bolt to suspend a chain from a tractor bucket. The plaintiff was helping him guide the suspended gearbox into its position in the feed wagon when the bolt broke and fell on his hand. Four fingers on his hand were crushed, resulting in the amputation of several fingers. The lawsuit was filed against the company who was hired by the dairy farm instead of against the dairy farm itself. The plaintiff’s wife also alleged loss of consortium in the claim.
Settlement for $1 million in California (2008) – The plaintiff was an undocumented laborer who was working as an avocado picker on a farm. The tree branch supporting his ladder broke as he was climbing it. He then fell 15 feet to the ground. In the fall, the plaintiff suffered severe neurological damage that left him paralyzed from the knees down. The lawsuit claimed that using a ladder to pick fruit was an inherently dangerous method and that the plaintiff was not properly instructed on how to properly use the ladder. The plaintiff claimed that the owner of the ladder had the duty to train him in the proper use.
Plaintiff Verdict for $1,625,423.74 in Kansas (2011) – The plaintiff was working inside of a grain silo and was sweeping the silo. He slipped and part of his right foot got caught in the conveyor system of the silo. The injuries that he sustained included the loss of his right leg. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants should have provided safety guards to protect those who were working to maintain the silo. In addition, the plaintiff also claimed that the silo was defectively designed in a manner that caused his injuries. The lawsuit was filed against both the plaintiff’s employer as well as the company that sold the silo. The two defendants were apportioned 90 percent of the liability for the accident.
Plaintiff Verdict for $250,000 in Colorado (2013) – The plaintiff was a construction worker who was present on the farm as a business invitee of the defendant. The plaintiff was standing on hay bales when he fell. He broker both of his elbows in the fall and needed insertions into the elbows. The lawsuit alleged that the hay bales were improperly loaded and that the defendant was aware that the stack of hay bales was unstable. The plaintiff argued that the defendant had an obligation to warn him of an unsafe condition on the farm. The verdict was slightly reduced because the court found that the plaintiff was partially responsible for his injury.
Settlement for $400,000 in New York (2018) – The plaintiff was a ten year old child who was at the farm that was being operated as a resort. An employee allowed him to ride a trailer that was being used for hay rides to a point where it was to be disconnected. The child was allowed to step on the side of the tractor and he fell. The child suffered multiple facial fractures and broke his femur and required several surgeries. He also suffered permanent scarring. The plaintiff and defendant entered into a structured settlement agreement and the $400,000 reflected the initial payment under the agreement.