Farming Accidents And Workers’ Compensation: 5 Things To Know
Many workers in Florida are employed in an agricultural capacity, doing work on various types of farms in South Florida and throughout the state. If you were injured in a farming accident, or if you were injured while doing agricultural work, it is essential to talk with a West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorney about seeking benefits. In the meantime, the following are five things to know about farming accidents and workers’ compensation in Florida.
- Florida is One of the Leading Producers of Many Agricultural Products
According to the USDA, citrus crops are the most prevalent in Florida, and as of 2017, the state had nearly 503,000 orchard acres (or groves) for citrus. In fact, Florida produces the second-highest amount of citrus products in the country, and only produces slightly less than California. About 57 percent of the nation’s citrus acres are in Florida, and Florida produces 70 percent of the nation’s orange crop. Florida also produces nearly 60 percent of the nation’s grapefruit crop. Beyond citrus, Florida also produces many other agricultural products that require agricultural workers, including vegetables, sugarcane, mushroom crops, nursery products, and cattle. As such, Florida farms employ a wide variety of agricultural workers.
- Many Different Types of Agricultural Injuries Can Occur
Farm workers can sustain many different types of injuries while performing agricultural work. Common types of agricultural accidents and injuries include but are not limited to:
- Falls, including slips and falls;
- Overuse injuries like strains and sprains;
- Tractor accidents;
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals; and
- Heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Agricultural Workers Are Injured More Often Than You Might Think
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries,” and “farmers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.” In fact, about 100 agricultural workers are injured each day, on average, on the job.
- Certain Agricultural Workers Are Not Covered By Workers’ Compensation, But Many Are Covered
While many agricultural workers are covered by workers’ compensation, it is important to know that Florida law does not consider all agricultural laborers to be engaged in “employment” for purposes of workers’ compensation coverage.
Florida workers’ compensation law says that “employment does not include service performed by or as . . . agricultural labor performed on a farm in the employ of a bona fide farmer, or association of farmers, that employs 5 or fewer regular employees and that employs fewer than 12 other employees at one time for seasonal agricultural labor that is completed in less than 30 days, provided such seasonal employment does not exceed 45 days in the same calendar year.”
- You Will Need to Take Steps to Seek Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you are injured while working on a farm or in an agricultural position, you will need to follow all steps outlined by Florida workers’ compensation law in order to be eligible for benefits. You will need to report your injury to your employer within 30 days from the date of the accident and seek approved medical care to start.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in West Palm Beach
If you were injured in a farming accident or while performing agricultural work, you should seek advice from one of the experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. today.
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