California Farm Tractor Accident Lawyer


Each and every year, thousands of people suffer serious, debilitating injuries in tractor-related accidents. Or, even worse, people lose their lives in these awful accidents. According to the National Agricultural Tractor Safety Initiative, tractors are responsible for approximately 130 fatalities annually. That is half of all farmworker deaths.

Overturned Tractor Fatalities

According to the National Safety Council, a shocking 44 percent of all tractor accident deaths were caused by overturned tractors. Between 1992 and 2001, over 2,100 people died in accidents involving farm tractors. Many of these awful deaths caused by tractor accidents could have been avoided with more stringent safety protocols on farms and other businesses.

Farm Tractor Rollover Accidents

Tractor rollovers are, far and away, the most common cause of deadly tractor accidents. As mentioned, tractor rollovers are the reason behind over 40 percent of all deadly tractor accidents. Other causes of deadly tractor accidents include:

  • Being run over by a tractor;
  • Getting crushed by a tractor; or
  • Falling off a tractor
Causes of Rollover Farm Tractor Accidents

There is a myriad of preventable causes of rollover tractor accidents, including:

  • Failure to hitch properly;
  • Ballasting improperly;
  • Speeding and/or poor control when making a turn;
  • Going up an incline that is too steep

The video below illustrates the steps that can be taken to reduce the occurrence of injuries and death resulting from farm tractor accidents.

Defective Manufacturing of Tractors

In addition to farm tractor rollovers, another factor in serious tractor accidents is poor manufacturing or tractors' design. Modern tractors are legally obligated to be manufactured with rollover protection systems. In fact, rollover protection systems were mandated to be included in tractors by the U.S. Department of Labor. This means all new tractors are required to have some form of rollover protective structures. Furthermore, tractor operators are now required to get higher levels of training before they can use these massive, complex vehicles.

However, older model tractors are not equipped with this safety feature. You may be asking yourself, “how many old tractors are still in use or lack this safety feature?” Well, approximately 50 percent of the 4.8 million tractors operating in America do not have rollover protection systems or even seat belts. Yes, you read that correctly – many tractors lack seat belts. Many tractors also lack roll bars or protective cabins in the tractors.

Common Types of Injuries Suffered in Tractor Accidents

A study conducted by the University of Iowa reviewed over 500 cases of tractor-related injuries to examine the types of injuries most commonly suffered in these collisions that required emergency medical treatment. The study, published in the Journal of Safety Research, revealed that bone fractures the most common injury type. In fact, nearly 50 percent of reported injuries involved at least one bone fracture. Other common injuries suffered in tractor accidents include:

The study showed that approximately 23 percent of people injured in a farm tractor accident required at least one day in an intensive care unit. Many others required days, weeks, or months of intensive medical treatment to recover from their bodily injuries.

Pursuing Monetary Damages Through an Accident Claim

If you or a family member suffered a serious injury in an accident involving a tractor, you might be able to file a personal injury claim to seek financial restitution for your harms and losses. This means if you were hurt while working on a farmworker or if you or a loved one was hurt while operating a tractor, you can pursue monetary compensation. The types of compensatory damages you can pursue through a personal injury claim include reimbursement for the costs associated with your medical treatment.  This would include reimbursement for the cost of the treatment you have already received, and for the costs of medical treatment you will most likely need going forward.

In addition to reimbursement of medical costs, you can seek reimbursement for your lost income. If the tractor accident impacted your salary or hourly wage, you could pursue recovery of those lost funds. This includes time missed from work by using vacation days and sick days. In addition, you can seek compensation for future wages if your injuries are so severe that a doctor has determined you cannot return to work. You can also pursue damages for the emotional strain and psychological damage associated with suffering a serious injury in a tractor accident. These damages are commonly referred to as “pain and suffering” damages.

Evaluating Your Tractor Accident Injury Case

If you are thinking about filing a personal injury claim against the tractor manufacturer, the farm owner, or another part, you may be asking yourself, "what exactly is my personal injury case worth?" The answer depends on the specific facts of your case. The amount of damages you could reasonably expect to recover is influenced by the amount of economic and non-economic damages you suffered from the accident. For example, someone who suffers a traumatic brain injury is totally incapacitated and will require a lifetime of medical care is more likely to recover a substantial sum of money than someone who suffered a soft tissue low back injury. Another influencing factor is the amount of available insurance coverage. This will depend on which parties could potentially be held liable for causing the accident.

Pursuing Financial Recovery Even if You Are Partially at Fault

California courts have adopted a comparative negligence standard when determining how to award damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Comparative negligence means that a judge and jury can review the fault of both the plaintiff and the defendant, or defendants, and assign a percentage. This percentage will then be used to reduce a damage award.

For example, if you suffered $100,000 in economic and non-economic damages and were found to be 30 percent at fault, an award of damages would be reduced by 30 percent. This is a fair and reasonable standard, especially when compared to the negligence standards used by other states. For example, in some states, if a plaintiff was deemed to be over 50 percent at fault for causing a tractor accident, they will be barred from recovering any monetary damages. Other states have adopted an even harsher contributory negligence standard that bars a plaintiff from recovering damages if they are just 1 percent at fault.

Statute of Limitations in Tractor Accident Injury Lawsuits

Generally, you have two years from the date of the tractor accident to file a lawsuit in a California court. If you wait any longer, you run the risk of losing your right to seek monetary damages from the at-fault party. However, there are some circumstances where a plaintiff can “toll” the statute of limitations. They include when: (i) the plaintiff was mentally incompetent during the time in which the statute of limitations was running, (ii) the plaintiff was physically incapacitated and was therefore unable to actually file the necessary legal paperwork; or (iii) the plaintiff was a minor when the accident occurred meaning that the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the minor becomes a legal adult.

As you can see, the exceptions are quite narrow for when the statute of limitations can be tolled. This means it makes more sense to take action as soon as you can. The best way to do this is by contacting an experienced tractor accident attorney to discuss the viability of your potential claim.

California Farm Tractor Accident Lawyers Work on a Contingent Fee

If you are struggling with massive medical bills and lost wages, you may be hesitant to schedule a meeting with a lawyer out of fear that you will be obligated to pay the attorney a huge hourly fee. Do not make this mistake. Tractor accident lawyers operate on a contingent fee basis. This means you pay no upfront costs, and you can still access high-quality, experienced, and skilled personal injury attorneys. It also means that you do not pay until the attorney secures a financial victory for you. Once victory is attained, the lawyer typically receives a percentage of the total amount recovered. As you can see, hiring a California Farm Tractor Accident Lawyer is low risk with the potential for a high reward.

Speak to a California Farm Tractor Accident Lawyer 

The sooner you contact a California farm tractor accident attorney, the more likely you will achieve a favorable outcome in your case.

California Farm Tractor Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a California Farm Tractor Accident Lawyer. If you or someone you love has suffered injury or death in a tractor accident, my heart goes out to you. Please give our injury lawyers a call for free, friendly, and compassionate legal advice at (559) 377-7676 or (800) 404-5400.

We’ve been helping the seriously injured in California recover the compensation they deserve since 1982. We also help families pursue a wrongful death claim when they have lost a loved one in a fatal tractor accident. 

We take my cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no fees upfront. We get paid after the successful outcome of your injury or wrongful death case. So why not call today? Español hablado aquí.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our case history of verdicts and settlements and our client reviews on GoogleYelp, and Avvo.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.9.21]
Photo by Dietmar Reichle on Unsplash

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