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1. The true losses suffered in a Car Accident are often under-estimated.2. Who can claim motor vehicle injury compensation?3. What can you claim for as part of motor vehicle injury compensation?4. What are the most common road and car accident injuries?

Farms are a very unique environment where there are a great deal of potential risks and hazards. You are working with machinery, equipment, tools and chemicals where the risks of misuse can be potentially very harmful or even fatal. 

A recent report by Agrifutures Australia found that Queensland has one of the highest rates of on-farm deaths, with nearly 30 of the 58 deaths across the country taking place in Queensland. 

While the dangers of quad bikes are becoming more well-known, there are still plenty of risks which exist on Queensland farms and which need to be considered and planned for to ensure accidents do not happen.

Whether you are working as a picker on a Queensland farm, or are an owner-operator of a farm, this article explains how compensation for a farm accident works, what type of cover there is to protect you, and how you can go about seeking personal injury compensation

The team at Murphy’s Law can help with compensation for farm injuries and workplace accident compensation claims, so get in touch to find out more about our no win no fee basis for legal services and get started with your personal injury claim. 

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Common causes of farm accidents

Farms are places where there are a lot of machinery, tools and vehicles which, if used incorrectly or in a dangerous way, can result in a farming machinery accident. Some of the common farm accidents at work include: 

  • Tractor accidents - especially if people are jumping on and off tractors while they are operating;
  • ATV/quad bike accidents - overturning ATV’s, tractors and machinery are a common cause of serious injuries and fatal farm accidents
  • Motorbike accidents (riding trail bikes) - a commonly-used form of mustering vehicle, the trail bike can also be highly dangerous if you are thrown off - especially if you are not wearing a helmet or the appropriate protective clothing
  • Ute and vehicle accidents - if you are driving on a farm you can often be off-road and navigating bumpy or unfamiliar territory or have an accident in a truck or large work vehicle. You may also strike an animal while driving such as a Kangaroo or be involved in a road accident on public roads.
  • Helicopter and light aircraft accidents - used in mustering and surveying, helicopters are common on many farms, while aircraft can be used for shopping trips or runs into town. Special care is always required when piloting aircraft of any kind - and the consequences of an accident can be catastrophic and fatal.
  • Mechanical entanglement with farm machinery - a particularly horrible accident, sometimes people are entangled in machinery and, due to working alone, are not able to call for help.
  • Being hit by moving objects - whether you are mustering, moving hay, clearing land, or doing some construction, you are at risk of being struck by a moving object on a farm - which can result in a serious injury.
  • Falls - as with any other manual labour job, you are at risk of falling — with the risks of falling from a height possible when doing tasks such as pruning trees, building structures, maintaining vehicles or other tasks at height. 
  • Cuts - working with tools and using your hands puts you at risk of being cut due to inattention or incorrect working methods
  • Being hit or stuck by cattle or farm animals - when you are mustering or working with cattle or farm animals you need to be very careful with your hands and body, to ensure you do not suffer cuts or abrasions. This is a common injury which can happen at any time, as animals are unpredictable. 
  • Falling or being trapped in slurry pits - working with animals can often result in a slurry pit, and workers have been injured when being overcome with gases which can accumulate, or by being trapped in the pit.

Most common farm injuries

Now that we have considered some of the ways in which farm accidents happen, we can look at some of the most common types of injuries. 

  • Body stress - such as pulled muscles, tendon injury, ligament damage, or broken bones
  • Injuries to fingers, thumbs or hands
  • Back injuries 
  • Lower limb injuries
  • Crush injuries where there is contact with machinery or other objects
  • Cuts and injuries associated with tool use
  • Bites from horses, cattle, sheep or other farm animals resulting in wounds
  • Accidental poisoning or exposure to noxious substances

There are many ways in which injuries can occur, and it is important to ensure you are always working in a safe manner. If you are injured on a farm there are ways to seek compensation. 

Rights for farm workers on working holiday visas

Have you been injured while working on a farm picking fruit or vegetables, or working on a farm doing labour tasks to extend your working holiday visa? 

  • If you are a worker on a farm you may be covered by WorkCover, a statutory body which protects workers who are injured while at work, and who have to take time off to recover. 
  • WorkCover also provides cover for medical expenses which are relevant to your injury. 
  • We can help you lodge a WorkCover claim and can work with you to ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation for your injuries. 

You may also be able to claim for compensation from your employer directly if your injury was caused by your employer failing to provide a safe system of work.

Example: Grace is inexperienced in mustering and tells the farm manager that she has not ridden a motorbike before. She is told to get onto a quad bike and start rounding up sheep. She is given a helmet, but it is not suitable for the task of riding the motorised quad bike. Grace rolls the quad bike due to her inexperience and crushes her right arm. She suffers permanent injury and damage, and her future career as an architect is no longer possible. Grace would likely be able to claim against her employer for negligence. 

After an afternoon of drinking with some of the other workers on the farm, Devon hops into a cattle crush while intoxicated and tries to jump onto a cow. The cow kicks him in the chest and Devon suffers a cracked rib. Devon would likely not be able to claim compensation for his injuries, although he may be able to claim WorkCover benefits while he is off work. 

You are covered for your injuries, and as long as you are within time limits for claiming (inside six months of your accident for WorkCover, and three years for a personal injury claim due to negligence) then we can help even if you are no longer in Queensland - or even in Australia.

Who pays for farm injury compensation?

When making a claim for compensation you do not claim from your employer; you claim through their worker’s compensation insurance which is run through WorkCover and possibly via the farm's third party liability insurer.

How are farm injury claims calculated?

Farm injury claims are calculated by taking into consideration a range of factors, including the extent of your injuries, how your injury occurred, and the lasting impact that your injury may have on your life. 

A compensation claim will take into account:

  • Where you were injured, the severity of your injury, and how lasting the impact of your injury might be, as well as whether your injury has ‘stabilised’ or is still worsening or improving
  • Any psychological symptoms which have occurred as a result of your injury (such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other diagnosed or diagnosable psychological symptoms)
  • Your ability to care for yourself
  • Any impact that your injury has had on your ability to participate in social or recreational activities
  • Your ability to travel or move around freely
  • How much time off work, or impact on work, your accident has resulted in
  • Your relationships
  • Medical expenses 
  • Reasonable home modifications for serious accidents and disability

While this is a look at what can be considered in a compensation claim, a chat to our specialist personal injury solicitors will help you to understand what you may be able to claim. Our free initial advice session will answer a lot of questions and let you know whether it is worth pursuing a personal injury claim.

How long does a farm accident claim take?

When injured in a farm accident you want to move on as quickly as possible. We give you a comprehensive estimate of how long your claim might take in our free initial advice session, with most claims taking between one to two years depending on the complexity of your injuries and the case. 

What are the time limits for farm injury workers compensation claims?

There are strict time limits associated with claiming for personal injuries sustained on farms. 

  • You have six months from the date of your injury to lodge your WorkCover claim
  • When your injuries are the result of another's negligence, You have three years to make a personal injury compensation claim with a lawyer for lump-sum compensation.

It is important that you get legal advice ASAP when you are injured on a farm so that you can ensure the best possible outcome. It can be harder to gather reliable evidence as time passes from the incident.

Our compensation lawyers are experts in farm injury claims and can provide free and confidential initial advice on your specific situation so you understand your legal rights and options.

Posted by Kirk Watterston Senior Associate

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Disclaimer: Please note, this content is designed as general information only and does not constitute legal advice. While we make every effort to fact check and keep items up to date, legislation may change from time to time. For advice on your specific situation then please contact us.
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