Life After a Debilitating Farming Accident

Posted by robyn

Life is different after a farming accident. It isn’t just the farmer or worker adjusting to a new normal, but also the whole family helps pick up the pieces. Plus, it is not as though this is an uncommon outcome from this profession. Farmers have a 40% higher rate of injury than all other workers in the U.S. Every day, over 240 agricultural workers suffer an injury that prevents them from working. Over 5% of these injuries result in permanent impairment. When this happens, the farmer will be out of work for a while, and the monetary costs of the injury piles up.

A Farming Accident Can Bring Permanent Injury

No one plans to get hurt on the job. Unfortunately, this happens to hundreds of farmers and farm workers every day. Additionally, these injuries can bring permanent damage. Some of these non-fatal injuries are burns, amputations, crush injuries and electrocution.

After these injuries occur many cannot return to work for a least 180 days. Also, it took years for farmers to be able to use their extremities the same way. Only 46% regained function enough to work if there was any skeletal damage.

Farm Injuries are Expensive

Bill Field from Purdue University compiles a yearly Farm Fatality Report. He analyzed almost 7,000 non-fatal accidents reported on Indiana farms. Those may range from a few scrapes to a crippling disability. Doctors also needed to treat most injuries. These could range from the amputation of severely mangled limbs, spinal cord injuries or brain injuries.

Estimates are those non-fatal farm injuries can cost almost $5,000 per incident. The economic effect when totaled was over $8.12 million. Not included are transportation costs to receive medical attention, which can be a major factor. People on farms live far from large metropolitan centers where many hospitals are located.  Simple ambulance runs are costly, and if an injured farmer needs a medical helicopter, the cost is even higher.

Don’t Depend on Worker’s Compensation after a Farm Injury

Many are unaware that farmers aren’t always covered under the worker’s compensation system. Worker’s compensation is when an employee is entitled to a guaranteed compensation for work-related injuries, regardless of fault.  The amount of compensation is a set amount.  After an injury, the employer pays for everything. Plus, no additional legal claim can be made against the employer.

However, 16 states have exemptions for farmers.  The reason was to help small farming operations who are unable to maintain the necessary records, insurance, and accounting to properly comply with the workers’ compensation system. This also prevents increased costs. Also, these state exemptions vary widely. Some only exempt seasonal labor and others exclude family members.

Get Financial Help after a Farming Accident

As a farm worker, you are at high risk for on-the-job injuries and death. Yet many injured farmers miss the compensation they deserve when they suffer such injuries. Some are also afraid to reach out for help due to concerns over confidentiality. Others misunderstand the legal system or think they don’t have any rights.

Both these concerns are unnecessary. The Farm Injury Resource Center (FIRC) wants you to know that you do have rights, and confidential help is available.

FIRC is dedicated to providing totally confidential help and resources to injured farmers. We help you exercise your rights, so you can claim the money and other benefits. It is important to contact us after you have been injured.