Farming is dangerous. It always has been. So are livestock operations.
We have handled agricultural death and fatalities and agricultural injury
cases of all kinds in Nebraska and across the country.
Big equipment. Big animals. Lots of movement. Many things to distract attention.
All these things inevitably act in combination to create risks to those
agriculture. Risks to farm workers are well known. Yet, a review of basic statistics
is always helpful:
- 3 million people work on 2 million farms and ranches.
- 1,300 lives are lost annually in preventable farm accidents.
- 120,000 injuries occur on the farm annually. Many are preventable.
- Machinery overturn causes the highest fatality rate. Farm tractor overturns
account for 44% of all tractor fatalities.
- Fruit farms have the highest work injury rate (233 per million hours).
Contributing Factors to Farming Accidents
The number of factors contributing to accidents is as varied as the kinds
of accidents themselves. These contributing factors have been widely recognized:
- Lack of emergency preparedness. Once an accident occurs, the time to skilled
care may be extraordinarily long and the distance considerable.
- Aging farm population. The highest injury rate on farms is among children
under 15 and adults over 65. The farm belt is graying. This is an enhanced risk.
- Farm equipment often lacks such basic safety protection as seat belts and
roll bars. Guards and shields have improved considerably. Yet, safety
devices could prevent up to 40% of all injuries.
- Farm accidents tend to involve machines and equipment.
- On the farm accident prevention is not as commonly stressed in an organized
way as in factories. Farms seldom have such basic things as: postings
concerning accident free days, rewards for accident free work and community
recognition for avoiding accidents.
- Farm accidents claim as many as 300 children's lives per year.
- Vehicular farm equipment, such as tractors, can often be contributing factors
in farming accidents. In 2013, there were 62 vehicular farm equipment
accidents in Nebraska. 4 of these accidents were fatal and 13 resulted
These steps and education can be especially helpful in preventing farm
accidents and injuries.
- Care should be taken to read and follow manuals, and always, always assure
that labels are adhered to. Warnings, decals and emblems should be kept
in place, unobstructed and intact. Inspection for the condition of these
warnings should be a routine part of equipment inspection.
- Employees and family members should meet to access safety hazards, discuss
accident situations and outline emergency procedures. Organized teaching
of safety practices is important.
- Seat belts should be used on equipment where is in place. Roll over protection,
guards, and shields should not be removed.
- Haste should not be permitted to interfere with good judgment. A rush to
unplug a plugged object, move grain not flowing in a grain bin, or enter
into an enclosed structure can have lethal consequences.
Some say good investigation and reporting techniques are key management
tools and accident protection. The Farm Safety Association provides free
seminars, good training materials and excellent online resources. Nearly
every state offers publications concerning farm safety.
What to Do When an Accident Happens
Accidents do happen. When they do, devastating consequences can befall
the injured party, and all persons involved in the farming enterprise.
Often, legal assistance can help with financial consequences of injury.
Likely areas suggesting the need for early intervention with skilled counsel
well versed in farm matters include:
A. Health insurance coverage issues;
B. Disability and benefits notification, disputes and interaction to assure
that all available resources are furnished;
C. Evidence assembly and protection. This is vital. Often, evidence critical
to prosecution of a case for personal injuries or death has a short transitional
life. Unless care is taken to collect, preserve and protect the evidence
promptly, it can get away.
D. Notifications must be given. When a machine is involved in an injury,
it is essential that timely notice of the injury be given to preserve
some legal theories. Notifications may be needed for government agencies,
vendors and public officials who are in a position to offer investigative
E. Meet deadlines. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state. As
little as one year may be available to pursue some forms of remedy in
some states, while longer periods may apply in others.
Early case analysis and settlement demand transmission can force insurance
companies to pay interest, adjust claims more fairly, and provide help
Domina Law Group's Work
Domina Law Group has provided assistance to injured persons in connection
with a wide variety of farm accidents, injuries and losses. These include:
- Farm machinery amputation injuries (including bilateral amputations)
- Quadriplegic and paraplegic
- Rotating shaft injuries
- Auger injuries
- Burn injuries
- Missing or defective shield injuries
- Inadequate warnings, labels and decals injuries
- Grain elevator injuries
- Tractor rollover and operation injuries
- Harvest equipment and combine injuries
- Spray drift and chemigation injuries
- Center pivot irrigation system defects causing personal injuries
- Electrical wiring and electrocution injuries
- Wrongful death
- Fire injuries and death
- Explosion injuries and death
- Crop damage injuries
- Injuries to dairy cows, and to people working with them
- Injuries to feedlot cows
- Feed ration and nutrition injuries and losses
- Milk losses, losses in daily gain
- Animal death and animal culling