Stockton Farm Accident Lawyer
As a centerpiece of the fertile San Joaquin County, Stockton and the surrounding area substantially contribute to the production of livestock and crops. Farming is an integral part of the fabric of our local economy, so the ranch and farm way of life provides livelihoods for many individuals and families throughout the Central Valley. Although farming is a vital segment of the economy in Stockton and other area cities, such as Lodi, Tracy, Ripon, Manteca, Lathrop, Brentwood, Oakley, Antioch, and Elk Grove, hard-working farmers and their families face the risk of devastating injuries and tragic fatalities.
Given the physical nature of life on a ranch or farm, there is a relatively high risk of injury when engaged in agricultural jobs, and severe farming injuries can make it difficult to return to the rigors of working on a farm. My name is Ed Smith, and I am a Stockton farming accident lawyer representing local ranchers and farmers since 1982. Whether you or a loved one is injured by a farm animal, grain bin entrapment, tractor overturn accident, or exposure to toxic chemicals, my background representing agricultural workers for decades in the San Joaquin Valley has provided a thorough understanding of the unique procedural hurdles, evidentiary issues, and severe injuries involved in farming accidents.Handling the Full Range of Stockton Agricultural Accidents
Many types of accidents can occur on a ranch or farm that might entitle a victim to financial compensation. Because the combination of hazards that can cause serious injury on a farm is highly diverse, farm accident victims benefit from working with an attorney familiar with the unique risks associated with the farming way of life. This wide array of potential hazards also means that a Stockton farm injury attorney must be proficient in various areas of law.
For example, personal injury law will be important in pursuing a claim where a farm hand on a truck collides with your vehicle. If the defective design of a grain bin results in "crush injuries," the manufacturer of the device and/or specific components might share financial responsibility with others. If a farm worker is injured while butchering livestock, the injured worker might have a worker's compensation claim against the ranch owner, a third-party claim against a company that failed to properly service equipment, or a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the defective equipment. The key is that injury victims obtain a significant advantage by working with an attorney with experience handling farm accident claims.
Because I have been representing people in Stockton and the Central Valley for over a quarter century, my firm can handle the full spectrum of agricultural-related injury claims, including but not limited to the following:
- Falls from ladders and other elevations
- Tractor rollovers
- Agricultural equipment accidents
- Farm structure emergencies (e.g., silo entrapments, grain bin entrapments)
- Livestock and animal incidents
- Transportation accidents
- Toxic gas and farm chemical exposure
- Machinery entanglements
- Spills and fires
While many people presume that they will never suffer a farm injury, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that workers throughout the country in agriculture rank near the top for on-the-job injuries each year. The situation is no better in California, where agricultural accidents account for the third highest number of non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Tragically, many of the hundreds of fatal farm accidents that occur annually could be prevented by implementing basic safety procedures. For example, the CDC reports that the most effective way to prevent tractor overturn accidents involves the installation of a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) on these farm vehicles.
The video below provides safety tips on what not to do on a farm to avoid injuries.Pursuing Worker's Compensation and Third-Party Injury Claims
Many workers injured in accidents involving ATVs (four-wheelers) or other farm accidents might have a right to worker's compensation benefits. Although about half the states throughout the U.S. do not require employers to provide the same level of protection to migrant or seasonal farmworkers as employees in other industries, California does extend worker's compensation benefits to employees of farms and ranches. If you experience an on-the-job injury in a farm accident, you might have the right to free medical care, partial wage replacement, and disability benefits based on your impairment. There is no requirement that you establish "fault" or "negligence" by your employer because the worker's compensation system is a "no-fault" basis for providing financial compensation to employees for work-related injuries.
However, the compensation obtained through a worker's compensation claim will tend to be less than the recovery available in a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence. I often explore the prospect of bringing a worker's compensation claim against an injury victim's employer and a third-party civil lawsuit against other responsible individuals or entities. This approach can permit an injured worker to seek types of compensation not awarded through the worker's compensation system, such as loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.Proving an Agricultural Accident Personal Injury Claim
If you do not work for an agricultural employer but are injured in a farm accident, your claim falls outside the worker's compensation system, so you are not barred by the "exclusive remedy" rule. While a non-employee injured on a farm does not face the limited scope of recovery available through the worker's compensation system, the fault of the defendant usually will need to be established. Generally, you must introduce evidence that indicates the responsible parties' failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injury was a substantial factor in causing you harm.
Farm injury cases often involve highly specialized and technical issues, so your Stockton farm accident lawyer might retain experts with specialized knowledge. The expert can provide information regarding the standard of care that the defendant should have exercised and explain how failure to comply with this standard caused your injuries. Your injury lawyer also will introduce evidence to prove your damages, which might include some or all of the following:
- Medical expenses and hospitalization
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and impaired earning potential
- Burial or funeral expenses (wrongful death claims)
- Punitive damages
- Other damages depending on the specific facts
If you or a family member has been seriously hurt in a farming accident, please call our legal team today at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
Editor's Note: updated [cha 7.31.23] Photo by Nicolas Veithen from Pexels [cs 1123]