Despite the vital role they play in our economy, farm laborers often face difficult working conditions. Due to the physical demands of their work, they are almost always at risk for various injuries and illnesses.
What is especially sad about this is when they suffer a work-related injury, it can be difficult to focus on their recovery while worrying about lost wages and medical bills. If you are one of these farmers, you need to understand the risk you face and the resources available to help you get through the injury.
The risks you face
Workers’ compensation is insurance that benefits employees who are injured or become ill due to their job. As a farmer, some of the risks that you may face include the following:
- Heat stroke: Heat stroke occurs when the body’s core temperature rises above 104°F and can cause confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness.
- Back strain from heavy lifting: Lifting heavy bags of produce or equipment can lead to back strains or sprains.
- Accidents involving machinery: Types of machinery such as tractors, harvesters or irrigation equipment can be dangerous if improperly used. Accidents involving machinery can cause serious injuries such as amputations, fractures or traumatic brain injuries.
These examples highlight some potential hazards you may face on the job. In the event of a work-related injury, workers’ compensation benefits can provide financial assistance and support during recovery.
Workers’ compensation for farmers
If you get injured on the job, you must immediately report your injury to your employer and seek medical attention. The law requires your employer to provide you with a workers’ compensation claim form within one working day of your report. You should fill out the form and return it to your employer promptly.
Workers’ compensation benefits may include the following:
- Wage replacement: If you cannot work due to a work-related injury, you may be eligible for temporary total disability benefits, which provide wage replacement of up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage. These benefits can help cover your living expenses while you cannot work.
- Permanent disability benefits: If your injury results in a permanent impairment, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits. These benefits compensate for the loss of earning capacity due to your injury. The compensation you receive depends on your impairment’s severity and age at the time of the damage.
- Job retraining: If you cannot return to your previous job due to your injury, you may be eligible for retraining job benefits. These benefits provide vocational rehabilitation services such as training, education or job placement assistance to help you find a new job suitable for your abilities.
However, the workers’ compensation system can be complex and overwhelming. That’s why working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help you understand your rights and options and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf is important.
Dealing with a work-related injury can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but you are not alone. You have the right to workers’ compensation benefits that can provide financial assistance and support as you focus on your recovery.