Trusted Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Representing Agricultural Workers
Handling claims for injured and ill workers throughout the Gulf Coast region and the entire state
Working on a farm is grueling, dangerous work. Farm and agricultural workers are exposed to countless hazards such as exposure to sun and heat, dangerous chemicals and filthy conditions. When you have a job that requires you to work with cumbersome, dangerous equipment in unforgiving weather conditions, you know that this creates an environment where workers can sustain serious injuries.
At Merkel & Cocke, P.A., we hold farm owners and agricultural company owners responsible when their negligence contributed to a worker’s injuries or death. We protect the rights of injured workers to be able to recover compensation when they have sustained injuries while they were doing their job.
You may not be entitled to workers’ compensation
Despite all the danger presented by agricultural work, Mississippi farm workers are not protected by the workers’ compensation program that provides partial wage loss benefits, medical expenses, death benefits for the relatives of workers who lose their lives in a workplace accident and vocational rehabilitation services. Farm workers are one of the categories or employees in Mississippi which are exempt from workers’ compensation. Employers who chose to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their workers are free to do so, but the law does not require them to do so.
Non-profit Farmworker Justice reports, “Although agriculture is one of the nation’s most hazardous industries, about half of all states allow agricultural employers to provide little or no workers’ compensation coverage for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.”
Agricultural workers who suffer an injury on the job, whose employers have not provided workers’ compensation coverage, may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer to recover compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost time at work, pain and suffering and any other losses.
However, there are some jobs within the agricultural industry that should be covered by workers’ compensation. Those jobs include:
- Processing plant workers
- Machine and equipment production
- Construction work
If you are an ag worker but not a farmer, then you may be entitled to benefits, depending on the nature of your work and your injury.
Examples of workplace injuries and accident in the farming and agricultural industry
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for agricultural operations lists the following as some of the major hazards for farm workers every day on their jobs:
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Third party injury claims for injuries from defective equipment
If a farm worker sustained a serious injury because a piece of equipment they were using to do their job was defective, or malfunctioning, they may be able to take legal action against the company that manufactured the equipment, and any other merchants in the chain of commerce between the manufacturer and consumer. In the product liability action against the equipment manufacturer. In a third-party personal injury action the worker would be able to recover greater compensation than they would be able to collect from workers’ compensation which only offers a partial wage replacement benefit, while the law allows for damages for full wage replacement, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Working with a skilled Mississippi workplace injury attorney to recover compensation for your injuries
Given that farming is such a dangerous occupation, farmers can choose to purchase liability insurance to protect their workers in case of injury. That would certainly be an easier and more cost-effective option than to leave valued workers uncovered and then face a personal injury lawsuit when a worker is injured.
The Mississippi workplace injury attorneys at Merkel & Cocke understand the complexities of involved in pursuing compensation for workers injured while performing agricultural work. Employers owe a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe work environment that is reasonably free from foreseeable hazards. In the farming industry it would be impossible to ensure that there are no hazards, but when a worker is injured, they can be held responsible for the worker’s injuries and other losses.
Call our Mississippi workplace injury legal team today to start the workers’ compensation claim process
If you were injured on the job as an agricultural worker, do not let your employer’s insurance company get away with denying you the compensation you deserve. At Merkel & Cocke, P.A., we have offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, and Oxford where we assist injured workers throughout Mississippi, including Tupelo, and across the Gulf Coast region. You are encouraged to call us today at 662-627-9641 or complete our contact form to discuss your legal options in a free consultation now.