Farm Injury Accidents
Farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Every year, farm accidents lead to thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths. Sadly, many of these accidents are the result of defective equipment, safety violations, and other forms of negligence.
At Lawton Cates, we have more than 63 years of experience representing injured farm workers in complex litigation throughout the state of Wisconsin. Our farm injury attorneys in Wisconsin know how to handle the unique and complex legal issues involved in these cases and have secured favorable results for countless clients. Because we limit our overall caseload, we are able to provide a high level of attention, service, and support to each and every client.
Common Farm Accidents & Injuries
Every day, farm workers face numerous hazards on the job. They are required to work with complex machinery, dangerous equipment, hazardous chemicals, and live animals. As a result, they can be suffer a wide range of injuries in a variety of different accidents.
Some of the most common types of farm accidents and injuries include:
- Slip and fall accidents and falls from heights
- Being struck by falling equipment or objects
- Agricultural equipment injuries, such as tractor overturns and machinery entanglement
- Accidents involving grain bins, silos, and other structures
- Fires, explosions, and electrocution
- Exposure to harmful substances, including chemicals, pesticides, and gases
- Farm animal incidents, including being pinned or trampled
- Heat exhaustion and heat stroke
- Repetitive motion injuries, overexertion, overuse, and sprains and strains
If you or a family member has been injured in any type of farming accident, it is important that you reach out to an attorney who can fight for the fair compensation you are owed. At Lawton Cates, we have experience going up against big machinery manufacturers, pesticide and chemical companies, and other entities liable for farm accidents and injuries. Our Wisconsin farm accident attorneys are ready to fight for you and your financial recovery.
Who Is Liable for a Farm Accident or Injury?
Most agriculture accidents occur when farm workers are “on the clock,” meaning they are actively carrying out duties or activities covered within the scope of their employment. In some cases, this may mean an injured employee is entitled to workers’ compensation. However, Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation laws do not require coverage for all farm workers. If you are not covered by workers’ compensation, you may be able to bring a third-party injury claim against the liable person or party.
In Wisconsin, employers in the agricultural/farming industry must provide workers’ compensation coverage for all employees if they:
- Have six or more employees
- Have these employees for at least 20 days (consecutive or non-consecutive) in one calendar year (January 1 through December 31)
If a farming industry employer meets the legal requirements for providing workers’ compensation, they must do so for all employees, including full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers. If you are entitled to workers’ compensation, you may seek applicable benefits following a farm accident or injury if the injury is related to your employment.
If you are not covered by workers’ compensation, you will need to file a third-party personal injury claim against the liable entity in order to recover for your damages. This typically involves determining fault for the incident.
Some common causes of farm accidents and injuries include:
- Defective equipment, machinery, chemicals, and products
- Failure to implement or follow proper safety standards and protocols
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations
- Improper training and/or supervision of employees
- Overwork and fatigue
By identifying the cause of the accident, our attorneys can then determine who is to blame for your injuries. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to investigating these cases and often work with teams of industry experts to uncover powerful evidence in support of our clients.
Our History of Success
Since 1958, we have successfully helped numerous injured farm workers and their families obtain favorable settlements and verdicts, including the first multimillion-dollar verdict in Dodge County: a $4.5 million-dollar verdict recovered on behalf of an injured farmer and his wife.
Our client was injured when the farm wagon he was repairing fell off the jacks and crushed his pelvis, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. We alleged that the farm wagon was defective and unreasonably dangerous because the tandem rear axle support structure was inadequately designed. In addition, we alleged that our client should have been warned when the manufacturer redesigned the support structure in 1984. The support system failed in 1996 in a farm field. Since the farm wagon could not be moved, it had to be repaired in the field, increasing the difficulty of the repair.
The manufacturer alleged that the injury was caused by the negligence of our client in the method he used in jacking up the wagon. In addition, the manufacturer claimed that it had no duty to warn our client, since no one had been injured by a farm wagon in the 25 years since it had been manufactured. The manufacturer also claimed that the wagon’s design was adequate since the wagon had been used for 15 years without any problems.
The jury found that the wagon was defective and that the manufacturer was causally negligent, assigning 80% of the fault to the manufacturer and 20% contributory negligence to our client. The jury awarded our client $5.5 million in damages—including $3 million in pain, suffering, and disability—and $1.25 million in loss of society and companionship to his spouse.
Some of our other notable case results over the years include:
- Stray Voltage: Lawton Cates represented a farmer against an electric company in a claim alleging that stray voltage had affected cows and their production. The case was tried for several weeks in Lafayette County with an ultimate jury award in favor of the farmer in excess of $700,000.Our firm secured a settlement for a claim of damage to a dairy herd caused by stray voltage in the amount of $225,000, and a lengthy trial concerning the presence and extent of damage to the dairy herd caused by stray voltage from power lines resulted in a jury awarding the plaintiff $455,000.
- Enjoined Auction: Our firm handled a case involving a rural auction of farm items and personal property from a liquidated business enjoined by Richland County in which this action was alleged to be a violation of zoning ordinances on the grounds that it was a commercial and not an agricultural sale. The injunction was upheld after a trial by circuit court and reversal by the Court of Appeals, with the county held responsible for damages and attorneys' fees.
- Chemical Disinfectants: Our team handled a case involving a claim that dairy cows were damaged by chemical disinfectants used in the dairy operation. Our firm won a verdict against the manufacturer of the defective product.
- Defective Design of Corn Picker: We handled a products liability action related to a defect in the design of a corn picker, ultimately winning a verdict for our client.
Injured in a Farm Accident? Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
Farm accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Moving forward after such a devastating event can feel nearly impossible, but our team at Lawton Cates is here to help you fight for the justice you deserve. Our attorneys strive to maximize our clients’ recoveries, allowing them to obtain the critical medical care they need and manage everyday expenses made all the more difficult by lost income and wages.
We are available to answer your questions and address your concerns. We invite you to reach out to us today to get started with a free case evaluation. There are no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
"Terry took the time to comfortably explain all and discuss options and decision-making that could be done along the way with clear pros and cons and asking me how I’d like to proceed."Jim R.
Compassionate, thorough, & made it easy to understand what’s going on.Riley G.
Lawton & Cates has been the most supportive and helpful!Rachel
"Everyone was so very kind to me... We were all made to feel welcome, made to feel supported, and made to feel like we belong there. That was very important to me since I was pretty stressed out a lot of the time."Susie