Arkansas’ largest industry is agriculture, with farmland comprising almost 45 percent of the state. Thousands of employees work over 50,000 farms throughout Arkansas. Farming is also very dangerous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agricultural industry ranked as one of the top ten most hazardous industries in 2020.
Farms across Arkansas employ an estimate of 1.5 to 2 million seasonal employees. Given the number of farmworkers and the hazards associated with the agricultural industry, it is not surprising that many people are severely injured or killed. Ken Kieklak is a seasoned Arkansas attorney for injuries that occurred on a farm who has represented hard-working people for over twenty years. If you or a loved one was hurt while working or visiting a farm, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438 for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Accidents on Arkansas Farms
Farmworkers face countless perils every day they are on the job. When farm owners, managers, or equipment manufacturers neglect to make safety a priority, the risk of injury to workers increases. Farmworkers spend hours operating heavy farm equipment, handling toxic pesticides and chemicals, and engaging in other dangerous activities. It is not uncommon for workers to be seriously hurt while on the job. Some of the most common causes of severe injuries include the following.
- Tractor accidents or overturns
- Animal injuries
- Falls from farm structures or machinery
- Machinery accidents
- Defective equipment
- Pesticide poisoning or chemical exposure
Types of Injuries Suffered by Arkansas Farmworkers
The types of injuries that farmworkers sustain are as varied as the causes. Often, especially when an injury is related to the operation or malfunction of heavy farm equipment, the injury is catastrophic or fatal. Over the past twenty years, Ken Kieklak has filed personal injury lawsuits for hurt farmers suffering from some of the following injuries.
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Damage to the nervous system
- Respiratory disease
- Permanent paralysis
- Wrongful death
Personal Injury Lawsuits for Farm Accidents in Arkansas
In addition to the physical and economic setbacks associated with a devastating farm injury, hurt agricultural workers face yet another hurdle. Arkansas Workers’ Compensation laws specifically exclude farmworkers from filing claims for work-related injuries. To be compensated for any injury sustained while working, an agricultural employee must seek redress through a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, when an injured worker files for Workers’ Compensation, they are not required to prove that their injury was the result of negligent conduct. When someone suffers an injury that occurred on a farm, they need Ken Kieklak, an Arkansas attorney with over twenty years of representing injured agricultural workers, to help establish that their injury was the result of another party’s negligence.
Negligence on Arkansas Farms
To prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove several elements. First, you must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Employers are required to provide their employees with a work environment that is safe from known hazards. However, this does not mean that the work environment is not dangerous. Agricultural work is hazardous, and a farmworker can be hurt despite the best safety practices.
After establishing a duty of care, you must demonstrate that the defendant breached that duty. Typically, the standard of care is determined by what an equally knowledgeable and prudent person would do in a similar situation. For example, if a farm manager was aware that a combine was malfunctioning and still instructed an employee to operate the machinery, their order could constitute a breach of the duty of care. The following are some additional types of conduct that could be construed as a breach of duty and negligent.
- A farm equipment manufacturer fails to put adequate warning labels or instructions on their machinery or products.
- A manufacturer provides defective farm equipment.
- Knowingly allowing defective or malfunctioning equipment to remain in service.
- Purposefully removing safety devices, such as guards or shields, from farming equipment.
- A farm manager or employer fails to adequately train farmworkers on equipment that they are required to operate.
- A farm owner does not properly maintain farm buildings and structures.
- A fellow employee fails to report a defective piece of machinery or knowingly continues to use malfunctioning equipment that injures another.
The next element you must prove is that the breach of duty directly caused your injury. Causation is dependent on the circumstances of each particular case. A skilled Arkansas farm injury attorney will thoroughly examine the facts and evidence related to your injury to try to trace the chain of events back to the defendant’s conduct. For example, if a malfunctioning plow caused your injury, our law office would need to establish that the farm owner or manager was aware of the defective equipment, failed to repair it, and knowingly had you operate it. Additionally, the manufacturer could be held accountable for your injuries if the plow had a design flaw or was an error in the manufacturing process.
Finally, your injury must have resulted in actual damages. Generally, if someone was severely hurt, this is not difficult. Damages include medical expenses, the cost of physical therapy, and the loss of wages, among other financial losses.
Call Our Arkansas Attorney for Injuries that Occurred on a Farm for a Free Consultation
Millions of agricultural workers embrace their dangerous calling daily. While farm work is inherently risky, farmworkers should be properly compensated if they are injured on the job. Unfortunately, Arkansas Workers’ Compensation law prohibits their ability to file a claim. Therefore, an injured farmworker needs our Arkansas attorney for injuries that occurred on a farm fighting for their interests. Ken Kieklak has vigorously represented those hurt working on Arkansas farms for over twenty years. If you or a loved one was hurt while working or visiting a farm, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438 for a free consultation.