With farmland comprising almost 45 percent of Arkansas, agriculture is not only the state’s largest industry, but it is also one of its most dangerous industries. According to a 2020 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agricultural industry ranks in the top ten in employee injuries and deaths.
Arkansas farms employ an estimated 1.5 to 2 million seasonal employees. It is not surprising that with that many people employed in such a dangerous industry, many Fayetteville farmworkers are either injured or killed in farm-related accidents. Ken Kieklak is an experienced Fayetteville, AR Lawyer for injuries that occurred on a farm. If you or a loved one was injured on a farm, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438 for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Accidents on Fayetteville, AR Farms
As stated above, farm work is inherently dangerous. The numerous activities required to run a farm, such as handling toxic pesticides or operating heavy equipment, endanger the health and well-being of the workers. The risk of injury increases if landowners, farm managers, or the manufacturers of farm equipment fail to make the safety of the farmworkers a priority. Ken Kieklak has filed personal injury claims for Fayetteville farmworkers hurt due to the following.
- Accidents involving livestock
- Tractor or other vehicle accidents
- Falls from farm buildings or off equipment
- Accidents involving farm machinery
- Injuries caused by defective or malfunctioning equipment
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Suffocation accidents
Types of Injuries Suffered by Fayetteville Farmworkers
The type of work involved in industrial farming and the size of the machinery operated often result in catastrophic injuries. When a farmworker is hurt due to the operation or malfunction of heavy machinery, the resulting injury could have life-altering effects of prove fatal. For over two decades, Ken Kieklak has assisted Fayetteville farmers who sustained a variety of injuries, such as the following.
- Spinal cord injuries
- Damage to the nervous system
- Head and neck injuries
- Brain damage
- Respiratory and pulmonary disease
- Severe lacerations
- Fractures and broken bones
- Permanent paralysis
- Wrongful death
The Need to File Personal Injury Lawsuits for Injuries
Farmworkers hurt on the job face additional hurdles beyond the adverse physical and economic consequences related to their injury. Unlike other workers who are injured in the course of their employment, farmworkers are not permitted to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Arkansas law purposefully excludes agricultural workers from filing for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Therefore, farmworkers are required to file personal injury claims to be compensated for their financial loss. Unlike a Workers’ Compensation claim, an injured agricultural worker must prove that their harm was a direct result of negligence. This added challenge requires a knowledgeable Fayetteville lawyer, such as Ken Kieklak.
Proving Negligence for Injuries that Occurred on Fayetteville Farms
A successful personal injury lawsuit requires demonstrating the defendant was negligent. To establish negligence, the first thing that you must do is show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Landowners and farm managers must maintain a work environment that is safe from known unreasonable dangers. This does not mean that agricultural work is without risks. Farming is dangerous and, even when the farm has the highest safety standards, accidents and injuries occur.
Next, you must prove that the defendant’s conduct breached the duty of care. When determining a breach of duty, the court will look to what an equally experienced and prudent person would do under the same circumstances. For example, a farm owner purchases a horse, with a known angry temperament, and purposefully does not inform his employees. If the horse injures a farmworker, then the owner’s failure to disclose relevant information could constitute a breach of duty. The following are some other additional types of actions that could be a breach of duty.
- A manufacturer fails to have adequate warnings or instructions included with their machinery.
- A supplier or manufacturer provides equipment that is poorly made or has a design flaw.
- A farm manager allows known defective or malfunctioning machinery to remain in operation.
- A farm owner removes safety devices from farming equipment.
- A farm employee is not properly trained before operating dangerous machinery.
- Farm buildings and structures are not maintained and are unsafe.
Next, you must be able to show that the conduct directly caused your injury. For instance, you might have suffered an injury due to a collapsing barn. If the farm owner was aware of the dangerous state of the barn and neglected to make proper repairs, then that failure to act could be held to be the cause of your injury. Causation is a challenging legal question, especially when an injury is the result of a chain of multiple events or actions. It is crucial to have a skilled Fayetteville lawyer working at your side.
Lastly, your injury must have resulted in an actual physical or economic loss. Damages from an injury could include medical expenses, loss of income, or pain and suffering. If you were severely injured in a farm-related accident, demonstrating actual damages should not be difficult.
Call Our Fayetteville, AR Lawyer for Injuries that Occurred on a Farm for a Free Consultation
Every day, agricultural workers across the state and in Fayetteville go to work despite the risks. If a farmworker is hurt due to an accident on the job, they should be able to be appropriately compensated. However, farmworkers are prohibited from pursuing Workers’ Compensation claims like other people in Arkansas. Therefore, when a farmworker is hurt, they need a Fayetteville lawyer for injuries that occurred on a farm representing them. Ken Kieklak has fought for injured agricultural workers 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.