A Game of Guess Who – Exposing Who’s Liable for Farming Injuries

When any worker, farmer, drover, farm hand, laborer, mechanic, welder, musterer, truck driver or harvester is injured it is essential to focus on:

  1. the relationship between the parties involved in the accident; and
  2. who is at fault for the accident.

For example; whether the injured individual is an employee of a farming business; visitor or guest to the property; or contractor at a farm, will change the type of compensation claim that can be made and the benefits which can be received.

The nature and number of claims available and increased number of parties at fault can have a positive effect on the value of compensation available.

Some examples highlighting the claims and parties which could be liable to pay compensation are as follows:

1. Employee Entitlements

An employee of a farm, who is paid by the business or company which controls the land will be entitled to claim workers compensation benefits for any physical or psychological injury sustained during the course of that farming employement.

This includes injuries suffered whilst on the employer’s own farm, or whilst performing duties for the employer, at the employer’s direction at places such as sale yards and feedlots, shows, competitions and on the road travelling between properties.  

The benefits available through this claim include:

  • Income loss payments at 80% or 95% of the pre-injury average wage;
  • Payments to cover treatment expenses for a limited amount of time;
  • Compensation for permanent impairment, only in certain circumstances.

Wen any injury occurs to an employee, the workers compensation insurer should be notified immediately. It is then the insurer who compensates the injured employee, not the farm owner directly from their own pocket.

2. Property Owner’s Liability

If you visit a farm as a guest and suffer injury because machinery haven’t had the proper safety guards in place, animals haven’t been fenced-in properly, machinery, plant and products haven’t been stored safety or chemicals and fuels haven’t been then controlled then it is likely anyone injured because of those circumstances may have a compensation claim against the property owner.

This clam is known as an occupier’s liability claim and is ran via the District Court of NSW. The benefits available from this type claim as much more lucrative than compared to workers compensation.

This claim can be investigated concurrently, whilst receiving workers compensation benefits, by an employee of one farm, if they are injured whilst on an alternative farmer’s property.  

3. Contractor’s entitlements

Its not uncommon for farmers to follow the work, traveling around NSW and even the country to contract their services to alternative farms depending on the time of year, effects of mother nature and harvest demands.

A contractor is required to have their own insurance policies in place to cover not only injuries to themselves, but also injuries they may cause to fellow contractors.

A contractor injured as a result of the negligence of the employees of the farm they are contracted to, or as a result of another contractor’s unsafe work practices can investigate a public liability claim against either the negligent fellow-contractor; negligent farm employer or both.

The compensation available is similar to that in an occupiers liability claim and includes:

  • 100% of past and future income loss up to retirement age.
  • 100% of past and future superannuation loss up to retirement age.
  • Compensation for the pain and suffering associated with the injuries.
  • Compensation for any assistance which is required around the house, including both indoor and outdoor maintenance.
  • Reimbursement of treatment expenses, the insurer worker is out of pocket for.
  • Future medical expenses including medication, hospital admissions and surgery, home modifications and rehabilitation costs.

Considering the number of different claims which can be available for one injured individual to pursue, it is essential to seek expert legal advice from a compensation specialist at RMB Lawyers to ensure maximum compensation results are achieved.

RMB Lawyers conduct these claims on behalf of injured persons on a “no win – no fee” basis. This means that you do not pay for our time, effort and expertise unless you successfully bring a claim. If your claim is successful, the insurer will have to pay the majority of your legal fees and expenses.

For further information contact us.

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