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Over 75 percent of Farm Injuries Go Unreported

There are some occupations that are more injury prone than others. Construction work, maritime occupations, and mining are among the work environments that are known to be dangerous, and which are most likely to see injuries to employees and workers’ comp claims. One area that tends to fly under the radar in terms of dangers is agricultural work. To illustrate this, according to data collected in 2011 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were only 32,100 injuries to farm workers – a number that is remarkably low considering how many farms there are in the United States.

At first glance, it would seem that farms must institute a remarkably high number of safety measures to protect their workers. But a closer analysis of the results reveals that the number of injuries gathered only come from farms that employee more than eleven employees. The statistics also do not include the temporary or contract workers who are injured or those injuries suffered by relatives of the farms’ owners. When you add in those employees and those work settings the number suddenly jumps to over 143,000 injuries per year.

Unfortunately, despite the high number of injuries that actually impact arm workers in the state of Pennsylvania, many injured workers are not able to file for workers comp benefits because of the nuances and limitations of the state’s workers’ compensation laws and protections. To learn whether you are eligible to file for compensation, contact the attorneys at the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law today.

Though the state requires most employers to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, the requirements for farm employers are extremely limited. The only circumstance under which an employer must provide workers’ compensation is when there is at least one worker who is paid wages of $1,200 or more, or when there is at least one employee who works 30 or more days in a calendar year. This allows farmers to keep their per employee compensation low or to only hire temporary help in order to avoid having to pay for expensive workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, workers who are undocumented are not entitled to receive replacement wages, even from those employers who provide workers’ compensation benefits.  This can make it difficult for an injured employee to get the compensation or reimbursement that they need to help pay for lost wages or medical expenses.

Though the lack of availability of workers’ compensation presents a roadblock for temporary workers or those who work on a limited basis and who are injured, that does not mean that it is not possible to file a claim. The best route for an injured farm worker in Pennsylvania is often to file a third-party personal injury claim against others who may have contributed to or displayed negligence that led to the injury. At Vanasse Law, we work hard to ensure that injured farm workers are provided with the information and representation that they need to get the justice they deserve. Call us or contact us online today to learn more about your rights to compensation.