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Are farmers responsible for injuries to farm workers?

North Dakota does not require agricultural business owners, such as farmers, to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

If workers get injured on the job, they may need to consider other resources for recovering damages.

The most common farm worker injuries

Heavy equipment, large animals and outdoor conditions make farming a dangerous job. Some of the most commonly reported workplace injuries are:

  • Burns
  • Crush and kick injuries from livestock
  • Head and back injuries from falls
  • Heat-related illnesses
  • Crush injuries from overturned equipment
  • Suffocation from entrapment in silos
  • Disfigurement and amputations

Many of these catastrophic injuries make it difficult for employees to work and earn a living while recovering.

Personal injury lawsuits may help workers recover damages

Since farmers do not need to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, injured farm employees do not receive automatic coverage for their medical bills. Instead, they may need to file personal injury claims to receive compensation for their injuries.

Personal injury claims require proving negligence. Several situations fall under the category of negligence, such as:

  • improper upkeep of farming equipment
  • faulty manufacturing of farming equipment
  • unsafe working conditions that lead to slip and fall injuries
  • defective guarding of heavy equipment

Injured workers can seek additional damages

Farm workers have six years after an injury to file lawsuits against liable parties. Personal injury claims allow workers to not only seek compensation for lost wages and medical expenses but also pain and suffering.

Though farmers are exempt from purchasing workers’ compensation, injured employees can file personal injury lawsuits holding all negligent parties responsible.