Farm Labor Workers Compensation in SC 

Farmworkers encounter many safety hazards in the course of performing their jobs in South Carolina’s fields, farms and agricultural operations. Farmworkers work outdoors in all types of weather including extreme heat. They are exposed to hazardous pesticides and herbicides. They operate large farm machinery and may sustain a crush injury if an arm or leg gets caught in the machinery. They drive slow-moving tractors and other equipment on the road and may be injured in a traffic accident.

Farm laborer feeding animals
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If you or a loved one has been injured in the course of farm work, it is important to understand your legal rights. Your vital work supports not just your family but our community. If you think someone else caused your accident, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim. At Joye Law Firm, we want to help rebuild your financial resources after your injury. Don’t wait to discuss your legal options.

Common Reasons for Farm Workers’ Injuries

Agriculture encompasses a wide range of work that exposes farm laborers to many potential hazards. Farmworkers are at a high risk of injuries and fatal injuries including work-related respiratory diseases, skin diseases, noise-related hearing loss and cancers associated with chemical use and sun exposure, according to the federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Farmworkers may suffer injuries in the normal course of work, but sometimes they can be the result of an employer’s or another responsible party’s negligence. If the employer does not have workers’ compensation, then you may have a right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover the costs associated with your injury’s treatment and non-economic costs. Our personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm can review the specifics of your accident and explain your rights free of charge.

Some common types of farmworkers’ injuries and their causes include:

  • Vehicle and Equipment Injuries. Unfortunately, vehicle and equipment-related injuries are among the most common and most serious farm accidents. Sometimes tractors are hit by other vehicles on public roads, in which case a claim against the other driver may be in order. You may also be injured by malfunctioning or poorly maintained equipment, which could be the result of an employer’s negligence.
  • Agricultural Chemical Injuries. Modern farming uses many dangerous chemicals, including pesticides. According to OSHA, agricultural pesticides are covered by a series of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that regulate farmworker exposure. Your employer should properly label the chemicals and train you in safety procedures. If you’ve been exposed to dangerous pesticides and been injured, let us determine whether others are at fault and legally liable for your injury.
  • Environmental Risks. Farm labor is often outdoors, which exposes workers to a variety of risks. One of the most dangerous is continual sun exposure. Extreme exposure to sun and heat can cause death. All farm employers should institute regular shade and water breaks to keep workers safe and prevent risk of heat stroke. You may be exposed to excessive, continual noise, which can cause hearing loss. Using proper noise-reducing ear protectors when you work with heavy equipment can protect your hearing.
  • Grain Storage. Grain bins and silos are extremely dangerous because of the unstable, loose grain they store. Workers are at risk of being entrapped or buried by large amounts of grain when entering a bin to loosen spoiled grain during the operation of unloading equipment. It only takes seconds to become entrapped. This can result in suffocation, in addition to crush-related injuries. If grain collapses on you because it was improperly stored, your employer may have been negligent. OSHA has safety recommendations for working with grain storage.
  • Animal-Related Injuries and Infections. If you work in an agricultural operation that raises livestock, you may be at risk of illness resulting from unhygienic conditions. It’s imperative that all animal-raising and animal-processing facilities are kept clean to keep the public and farm workers safe. You may also be hurt by needles in the process of immunizing the animals. Employers should provide proper sharps’ containment to prevent needlesticks.

South Carolina Agriculture

Agriculture in South Carolina is big business. According to the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, agribusiness accounts for 41.7 billion dollars a year and employs over two hundred thousand workers. Nearly five million acres of the state are dedicated to farmland, which grows fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelon, and our famous peaches. In addition to fruits and vegetables, many farms raise livestock, especially poultry. Farms also produce commodity crops like soybeans, cotton, and tobacco.

Given the importance of South Carolina’s agricultural industry, the compassionate lawyers at Joye Law Firm believe farm workers deserve competent, dedicated legal representation when they are injured. A farm injury may require significant treatment and rehabilitation.

When that injury was caused by someone’s negligence or recklessness, you shouldn’t have to bear the costs alone. Our attorneys can help you explore your legal options.

What Prevents Farm laborers from Accessing Workers’ Compensation?

Under South Carolina’s current system, there’s no guarantee of workers’ compensation benefits for farmworkers. South Carolina does not require agricultural employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect injured farm laborers. Some employers voluntarily carry workers’ compensation insurance.

However, if you are injured while working as a temporary H-2A worker in South Carolina, your medical care and reimbursement of lost wages should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance provided by your employer.

Farmworker Justice has compiled some resources about the current state of workers’ compensation for farm laborers in the country, organized by each state.

Pursuing Full Compensation for Farm Injuries

If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may still have a right to pursue a claim for your work-related injuries. In certain situations, it may be appropriate to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for your medical bills and related injury expenses. This requires gathering evidence to prove that your injury was caused by someone’s negligence or recklessness.

Our experienced Charleston lawyers will work hard to prove that your injury deserves to be compensated under South Carolina personal injury law.

When you contact Joye Law Firm, we’ll begin by assessing your accident. We’ll ask questions and try to understand exactly what caused your injury. We’ll build a legal case that describes how your injury was caused by the at-fault party. We’ll work to document how your employer or another at-fault individual or business violated their duty of care when you were hurt.

We’ll send a demand letter to the responsible party that details your injuries and losses related to the accident. The insurance company may decide to settle right then. Sometimes, we’ll negotiate with the insurer to get them to agree to pay you a fair settlement. If the person who hurt you and their insurance company fails to offer you fair compensation for your injury, we’ll take your case to court.

Types of Compensation You Could Receive

After we prove that your employer or other responsible party was legally liable for your injury, we will gather information from you to document the fair amount of compensation to settle the case. It’s important to keep all evidence related to your accident in order to fully account for your costs.

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be owed compensation for:

  • The medical expenses related to your injury
  • Ongoing medical expenses related to your injury that you can reasonably expect
  • Lost wages or salary from the time you missed at work
  • Property damage
  • Your pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress

Be sure to contact a lawyer immediately after a serious accident. If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you have to file a claim within 90 days of your accident. If you need to pursue a personal injury claim, you have three years from the date of your injury. Your lawyer can help you explore your legal options and keep track of these deadlines on your behalf.

Contact Joye Law Firm Today

Joye Law Firm has been helping injured people in South Carolina for more than 50 years. We are proud of our record of helping those when they need help the most. When you choose Joye Law Firm, you are choosing compassionate lawyers who know South Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation law.

We care about our community and value the work that farmer workers do. If you were injured at work due to someone else’s negligence, we can help you seek compensation for the costs of your injury. Contact us today for a free, confidential claim evaluation.

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