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Farmer disabled and left without workers’ compensation

Most employees in Minnesota expect to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured or become ill while on the job. Even if an employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, sometimes getting a claim approved can be difficult. But, for people who work in some jobs, their employers don’t even offer workers’ compensation coverage. This opens up a huge gap and exposes employees to great financial risk.

Such is the case for one farmer in neighboring South Dakota who was crushed by a tractor. His injuries were severe enough that he spent four months in a treatment facility in Minnesota before being allowed to return home. Subsequent trips to Minnesota ensued along with surgeries, tube feeding, and more to help the farmer. While he survived, the worker is permanently disabled and no longer able to work. Due to the lack of personal or company health insurance as well as the lack of workers’ compensation, he and his wife are now $80,000 in debt due to the farm accident. This is even with his disability payments and prescriptions that are covered by Medicaid.

Farming is known to be an extremely dangerous industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that for most of the private sector, an average of 3.2 out of every 100 workers experience job-related illnesses or injuries each year. For farms, that number is 5.5 out of every 100 but can be even higher depending upon the type of farming that is done. The fatality rate in farming is six times greater than the average nationally.

Workers injured on the job may want to consult with an attorney for help in pursuing compensation. Doing so can offer needed assistance in financing medical care and taking care of family obligations.

Source: Argus Leader, “Injured farmer: Scarred for life, on his own,” John Hult, February 15, 2016


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