Agriculture represents a cornerstone of North Dakota’s economy and culture. As you work tirelessly in the fields, barns and granaries, the potential for accidents or injuries remains ever-present. Farming, with its heavy machinery, unpredictable livestock and long hours, inherently involves risks. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture has reported that every year, over 30% of agricultural workers get injured on the job each year.
If an injury befalls you while working on a North Dakota farm, you might wonder about your rights and if you can claim workers’ compensation.
Know the exceptions
North Dakota does have a comprehensive workers’ compensation system, but not all employers and employees fall under its coverage. Specifically, some farm and agricultural workers might not be eligible. It largely depends on the size of the farm, the number of employees and whether the employer has chosen to opt into the workers’ compensation system.
Evaluate the size of the farm
Larger farms with more employees often carry workers’ compensation insurance, while smaller family-owned farms might not. If you work for a bigger agricultural operation, there are better chances of the company having a workers’ comp policy.
Check if your employer has opted in
Some farmers, even if they do not have a legal obligation, might opt into the workers’ compensation system voluntarily. It provides a level of protection for them as well as their workers. Always check with your employer to understand the extent of the coverage available.
Understand the benefits
If you find out you have coverage, workers’ compensation can offer benefits such as medical treatment, rehabilitation services and compensation for lost wages due to the injury. These benefits aim to support injured workers during their recovery period.
Report your injury promptly
If you suffer an injury while working on a farm, it becomes essential to report it immediately. Delaying this report can jeopardize your chances of receiving benefits. Document the details of the accident and keep a record of any medical treatments received.
Seek medical attention
Regardless of your workers’ compensation status, prioritize your health. Get the necessary medical attention as soon as possible. Not only does this aid in your recovery, but it also establishes a record of your injury.
While North Dakota offers workers compensation, farm workers need to be aware of the nuances in coverage. By understanding your rights and being proactive, you can navigate the aftermath of an injury more effectively and ensure you receive the support you need.