Previously on this blog we discussed how those who have been injured while carrying out farm-related work may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can be crucial to injured workers, regardless of their occupation, given that the funds provided can be used to offset lost wages, medical expenses, and rehabilitation costs. While that sort of protection can serve as a financial lifesaver to some, these benefits are not automatically handed out. Instead, injured workers need to take certain steps, including filing a formal claim. But before they even get to that point they need to report their injuries to their employer.
Sadly, recent research shows that only about 20% of all farm-related injuries are fully reported. This is no small omission, especially given the fact that many farm-related injuries are quite severe. Farm workers can be crushed or pinched by heavy machinery, they can fall from great heights, and livestock can trample them. Injuries suffered in any of these accidents may be covered by workers’ compensation, yet only about 18% of the 20% of reported injuries were covered by workers’ compensation. Not because the injuries in question didn’t qualify, but rather injured workers more often turned to personal insurance and Medicaid.
Researchers stress that obtaining accurate statistics related to farm work injuries is crucial to addressing safety and costs in the healthcare system. However, these statistics will only become more accurate if and when injured farm workers decide to report their injuries. While workers may have a sense of pride in carrying out their duties despite their injuries, they shouldn’t have any shame in seeking out help and workers’ compensation when needed.
Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim isn’t always easy, though. It can be fraught with legal complexities, and some initial claims are denied. Yet, these challenges shouldn’t deter an injured worker from seeking out the benefits he or she deserves. Attorneys who are experienced with handling these types of cases may be able to assist in aggressively pursuing these benefits.