Agricultural Worker Injury Lawyer in Boston
Agricultural workers not only work hard, but they face many work-related dangers daily.
Agricultural work injuries can be devastating, often leading to significant lost wages and even permanent disability or death.
The agricultural injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman in Boston can help you recover for your work injury.
Our law firm handles cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid in specific ways. The insurance company pays us if we win in court or if we reach an agreement. If we settle your case, we receive up to 20% of the settlement. Otherwise, you don’t pay us a dime.
We’ve been fighting for injured workers for more than two decades and have obtained maximum compensation for hundreds of workers in the greater Boston area, including agricultural workers.
If you’re an agricultural worker who has been injured in a work accident, you owe it to yourself and your family to obtain skilled and aggressive legal counsel.
Whether you’re an agricultural equipment operator, farmworker or crop picker, our attorneys have the experience and the resources to get you the compensation that you deserve.Agricultural Worker Injury Claims in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In the event of an on-the-job accident, an injured worker is entitled to benefits to compensate for medical bills and lost wages. It’s a no-fault system, which means that claims are paid regardless of who’s at fault for the injury.
Sometimes injured agricultural workers are reluctant to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation because they’re undocumented immigrants or are afraid of losing their jobs. Under the laws, injured workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of their legal status. An employer also cannot fire a worker solely due to them getting injured while working.
If you’re a worker who has sustained an injury while working on a farm or in some other capacity in the agricultural industry, it’s a good idea to contact a workers’ compensation attorney so that you understand your rights under the law.
A proficient work injury attorney can work with you to obtain benefits when the insurance company denies you. Workers who are represented by attorneys are treated more fairly than those who try to navigate the system on their own.
If a work accident causes an agricultural worker’s death, the family can file a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits. These benefits, which compensate for medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages, can be paid out monthly or in a lump-sum payment.
The agricultural workers’ attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can help you receive maximum compensation for your work injury claim.Chemical Exposure, Animal Diseases and Other Common Agricultural Worker Accidents
The agricultural industry is one of the most dangerous industries around. Workers are exposed to hazards from numerous sources, including toxic chemicals, heavy machinery and backbreaking work, to name a few.
Here’s a list of some of the more common dangers that agricultural workers face daily:
- Environmental hazards, including exposure to dust and molds
- Heavy machinery accidents
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Illness contracted from farm animals
- Animal bites
- Grain bin and silo dangers
- Power tool injuries
- Noise from farm equipment
Chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers can cause serious harm, including damage to the nervous system. Many agricultural workers mix, load or apply pesticides and fertilizers. Their work often exposes them to toxic chemicals through spills, inadequate personal protective equipment or what is known as spray drift. Agricultural workers who work in areas that have been treated with pesticides can be exposed from direct spray, drift or contact with pesticide residues on plants or the soil.
Family members of agricultural workers can be exposed to toxic pesticides through take-home contamination. For example, a family member exposed to pesticide toxins may return home, disrobe, and throw their infected clothes in the laundry bin. Other family members could then become exposed when their clothes are touched by the infected product, or while washing the contaminated clothing
Heavy machinery poses significant hazards, especially if the machinery has been altered to increase production. Agricultural workers frequently use tractors, tillers, loaders, bailers and combines. Ladders and cutting tools such as knives and hoes can cause injury if they aren’t in good condition or aren’t used properly.
Agricultural workers are often exposed to animals that can transmit diseases. These diseases, known as zoonotic diseases, are linked to bacteria, fungi, viruses or parasites that often live in or on the animal. Infections are caused by direct contact with the animal or their manure. They can also be caused by the consumption of animal products like raw milk or animal bites. Some examples of zoonotic diseases are Anthrax, Bovine Tuberculosis, Giardiasis, Hantavirus, and Rabies.
Arthropods are invertebrate animals such as ticks and mosquitoes. Arboviruses are viruses transmitted to humans by arthropods. Zika and West Nile Virus are examples of arboviruses.
There are many safety issues related to grain bins and silos, including suffocation hazards, grain dust exposure, and explosions. Moving grain can act like quicksand, burying an agricultural worker in a matter of seconds.
Many of these dangers can be mitigated or even prevented through training and safety precautions, including the use of personal protective equipment, including respirators.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has information on its website on the Hazards and Controls of Agricultural Operations.
Employers, including farm owners and operators, are required to follow OSHA regulations and provide employees with a safe working environment. Employers that fail to do so can and be fined by OSHA for the violations.
We can help obtain any OSHA reports or investigations created as a result of injuries you incur while working. We will investigate the accident thoroughly and can bring a personal injury lawsuit against any negligent third-party. Just remember, under Massachusetts laws, you cannot bring a claim against your employer for negligence caused by them or a coworker.
More than one party may be liable for your work injury. For example, a product liability lawsuit could be filed against the manufacturer of defective equipment or a dangerous and toxic pesticide. A subcontractor could also be responsible for creating an unsafe worksite in how they handled the product or equipment. A thorough investigation will help identify all potentially liable parties.Common Types of Agricultural Worker Injuries
Agricultural worker injuries can run the gamut from minor to severe with long-lasting health implications. Sprains and strains are likely to heal over time, while a worker who is exposed to toxic chemicals faces a lifetime of impairment and disability.
Some more common agricultural worker injuries include:
- Strains and sprains
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Back injuries
- Ear injuries, including hearing loss and tinnitus
- Heat-related illnesses
- Skin disorders, including contact dermatitis
- Loss of limb
- Certain cancers, including skin cancer, leukemia and lymphoma
- Toxic exposure
- Respiratory diseases
- Wrongful death
All of the hours that farmworkers and other agricultural workers spend in the sun can lead to skin cancer. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It can spread to other organs if it isn’t detected at an early stage. Treatment can involve surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
Heavy lifting, which tends to be a regular part of farm work, can cause sprains and strains and related injuries. Injury to the back, knees, wrists and other joints are common.
Studies have shown that farmers are more likely to develop leukemia and lymphoma. Exposure to nitrates, pesticides, viruses, fuels and other chemicals are most likely to blame.
Agricultural workers often develop Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome, a respiratory illness that manifests in flu-like symptoms. Workers are also at risk of contracting Farmer’s Lung, an allergic reaction caused by inhaling dust from moldy hay, straw and grain. Dairy farmworkers are prone to this disease. Repeated exposures can permanently damage lung tissue and cause shortness of breath and an inability to perform strenuous tasks.
Agricultural workers are often exposed to dangerous gases such as ammonia, carbon dioxide and methane. These exposures can cause respiratory distress or even respiratory failure.
Most farms are located in rural areas. As a result, it can take a long time for emergency services to arrive and treat an injured worker. This often leads to more serious injuries.Facts and Statistics About the Agricultural Industry in Massachusetts
The agricultural industry in Massachusetts includes greenhouse and nursery crops, as well as cranberries, corn and apples. Dairy farming is common.
Massachusetts has more than 7,000 farms on nearly 500,000 acres, according to information from the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau available on the state’s website. The agricultural industry provides employment to approximately 26,000 people and produces more than $475 million in agricultural goods per year, the Census Bureau said.
Here are some other facts from the Census Bureau about the agricultural industry in Massachusetts:
- Small and family-orientated farms are common. (The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines small farms as farms with agricultural sales of less than $250,000.)
- The average age of a farm operator is 59 years old.
- Female farm operators comprise 38% of all farm operators.
To learn more about how our work accident attorneys can help you with your agricultural worker injury claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 367-2900 or using our online form.