Modesto Farm Accident Injury Lawyer

Picture of Edward A. Smith

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto Farm Accident Lawyer. Modesto, like most Central California towns, runs on its booming agricultural industry. Located in the San Joaquin Valley directly between the Tuolumne River and the Stanislaus River, Modesto has very fertile soil. As such, it is a major producer of walnuts, milk, corn silage, and several other key crops.

Modesto’s multimillion dollar agriculture industry rests on an extensive network of farm owners, farm workers, commercial truck drivers, tourists, and local residents that provide support to these operations. Each set of people involved in this massive process, though, faces a great risk of accident on and around the area’s many farms.

Hazards of Farming and Ranching

Farming is ranked as one of the most hazardous professions in the United States. Each year, more farmers die in the course of their work than firefighters or police officers. In Modesto, farm workers face additional hazards from the intense heat common to Central California is the summer. Additionally, seasonal floods put farmers at great risk of water injuries.

Common Accidents Involving Modesto Farm Workers

In addition to some unique environmental concerns, Modesto farmers face many of the same hazards as other farmers around the nation. Common farm accidents involve:

  • Exposure to pesticides, fungicides, and other toxic chemicals;
  • Tractors and other pieces of heavy harvesting machinery;
  • Food processing machinery;
  • Enclosed crop storage areas;
  • Falls;
  • And nighttime harvests.
Common Farm Injuries

Across the variety of accidents listed above, injuries to the extremities are the most common. Hands and arms are commonly crushed or broken in the course of normal farm operations. Many farm workers also suffer debilitating back injuries and sometimes serious head trauma. Finally, working conditions at farms often mean that workers suffer respiratory distress during many different types of farm accidents.

Fatal Modesto Farm Accidents

In rare cases, people may die in accidents on farms. This is more likely to occur when heavy machinery is involved. Fortunately, these accidents are less common in Modesto. In fact, most fatal farm accidents in Modesto are related to high temperatures and resulting heat injuries.

Risks for Young Farm Workers

Young farm workers are considered to be at high risk for accidents on farms, largely due to the type of jobs they perform. Young farm workers are often smaller than adult farm workers and are consequently used for more jobs in enclosed areas and smaller spaces where they are more likely to be injured.

Risks to Children Living Near Farms

Children living near commercial farms are also at risk from many of the same types of accidents. Access to farms is often not restricted, so local children are often tempted to play in these areas. Grain silos, tractor barns, and corn fields are just a few areas of farms that may seem like fun to a child but carry a significant risk of major injury.

Major farms have a duty to attempt to restrict access to dangerous areas and post signs warning of these dangers. Failure to do so can make that farm liable in the event of an accident.

Risks to All Residents Near Major Farms

All people who reside near farms face an elevated risk of farming related accidents because they share the roads with farming machinery. This machinery can include tractors, hay balers, and even the commercial trucks used to transport farm products. Each one of these vehicles tends to move slower than normal traffic and often extends into the opposing lane.

These conditions make the risk of accident involving this heavy machinery higher. Consequently, accidents with farm equipment is one of the most common farm-related accidents in Modesto.

Farm Tourism Industry in Modesto

Other farm hazards come from less traditional sources, including farm tourism. Modesto’s agricultural industry is supplemented by tourism and revenue from visitors to local farms. The surrounding Modesto area is home to several major farms, including the E&J Gallo Winery, the largest winery in the world. Modesto is also home to DeRuosi Nut, a major nut producer. Both of these farming operations attract thousands of visitors each year while also entertaining locals year round.

Hazards for Farm Visitors

Although visiting local farms can be a fun way to spend a weekend while supporting local businesses, it can also be dangerous. Many visitors forget that these are often active farming operations that expose visitors to many of the same hazards faced by farm workers.

The most common accidents involving farm visitors are slip and falls. The smooth floors used in production areas of farms often become slick from spilled liquids or inclement weather. This then creates a major hazard for visitors.

Accidents at Modesto Farmers’ Markets

Farmers markets are another key element of Modesto’s agricultural industry where accidents may also occur. In accidents at farmer’s markets, liability is determined by who was negligent and thereby caused the accident. This may be one of the farmers selling their goods or the coordinator of the market itself. Seeking the assistance of an experience farm accident lawyer can help in these situations.

Determining Responsibility in Farming Accidents

Determining liability in any accidents involving farms can be complicated for several reasons. First and foremost, like most major industries, farming is dominated by a division of labor. This means there are many people involved in the various aspects of farming, from the planting to the harvesting and transportation. In the event of an accident, any one of these people may play a role and may therefore be responsible.