Farm injury compensation

Queensland farm injury compensation

Farms have many of the same hazards as other industries such as machinery, chemicals, noise, dust, animals and exposure to the elements, however the combination of all these hazards in the context of farms rank them among the most dangerous workplaces in Australia.

In addition, farming has the highest proportion of self-employed workers meaning farm workers are not only subject to hard physical labour but also the stress and demands of running their own business. They also often work alone meaning they are isolated from help or first aid if an incident occurs.

It is important that workers in the agricultural industry are aware of the risks associated with farm environments and understand their rights to compensation if they are injured.

Injured? Get expert advice now: Smith's are Queensland's only 100% risk-free injury compensation lawyers. Insist on our 'No Win. No Fee. No Catch' ® promise. Check your rights with no risk or obligations now and talk direct to our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith. Call 1800 266 801 OR  check if you can claim

Compensation for farming injuries

You may be able to claim compensation for a farming injury if it resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness.

If you are injured at work, you may be able to claim compensation from your employer. Employers must provide proper and adequate means for employees to carry out their work. This includes:

  • providing safe systems of work
  • maintaining safe machinery and equipment
  • maintaining a safe workplace; and
  • providing employees with adequate facilities, training, supervision and instruction.

If you are injured because your employer neglects to provide safe systems of work, equipment or a safe environment, you may be able to sue for personal injury compensation. This includes injuries incurred over a long period of time, late onset injuries, and aggravations of pre-existing injuries.

Strict time limits apply - seek legal advice ASAP - In most circumstances, the time limit to start a compensation claim is 3 years from the date of incident. Some processes need to be started much sooner. Seek expert legal advice ASAP. Call us on 1800 266 801 or start a live chat.

Examples: 
Jeff is a farmhand for a grain producer and is working 16 hour shifts during the harvest season.  He is tired after working 10 hours already and is instructed to use a grain harvester which he has not been properly trained to use. While attempting to clear a blockage, his arm is amputated by the blades of the machinery. Jeff may be able to claim compensation from his employer, since they failed to ensure safe systems of work. Rick suffers head and spinal injuries after rolling a quad bike. 
Rick is properly trained and experienced in driving a quad bike and was provided with a helmet by his employer which he was not wearing. Rick may not be able to claim compensation for his injuries as they were due to his own negligence. However, he may be able to apply for Workers' Compensation payments while he is off work.

See also: WorkCover Claims

Common farm injuries

Common farming injuries

  • Machinery: Tractors, harvesters, chainsaws, motorbikes and other machinery with unguarded blades and moving components cause cuts, lacerations, bruises, amputations and crush injuries.
  • Chemicals: Burns and respiratory illnesses or poisoning may result from exposure to pesticides or herbicides used on farms. 
  • Confined spaces: Working or becoming confined in silos, tanks and pits with unsafe atmospheres may cause poisoning or suffocation.
  • Electricity: Faulty cords, machinery or switches as well as overhead power lines carry risk of electrocution or electric shock.
  • Heights: Falling from heights off ladders, silos, rooftops, and windmills result in many injuries including soft tissue injuries, fractures, spinal injuries and head injuries.
  • Vehicles: Accidents on motorbikes, quad bikes, tractors and utility vehicles are the leading cause of death on farms.
  • Water: Dams, lakes, ponds, drums, tanks and creeks pose drowning risk.
  • Weather: Exposure to the environment may result in sunburn, dehydration, heatstroke or hypothermia.
  • Loud Noise: Machinery, firearms and livestock noise can cause deafness.
  • Animals: Bites, kicks, ramming and trampling by animals can result in serious physical injuries as well as infectious diseases.

Self employed farmers

Unfortunately, many farm workers are self-employed and are therefore not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If serious injuries are sustained, financial support may be available through income protection insurance or total permanent disability insurance if such policies have been purchased.

Farm injury compensation - what can I claim for?

General Damages

General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced as well as any permanent loss of enjoyment of life as a result of your injuries. They are calculated by reference to the ISV Scale which rates the seriousness of any injury between 1 and 100 and accords a monetary value range to that rating. For example an injury causing quadriplegia has a rating of 75 to 100 and a monetary range of $232,600 to $349,400 whereas amputation of a finger is rated 5 to 20 with a monetary range of $6,950 to $36,250.

Medical Costs

To diagnose and treat your injuries you may need to consult your general practitioner, consult a specialist, obtain x-rays or MRIs, take pain medications and wear special braces apparatus. The expenses you incur to obtain medical treatment including costs of consultations, diagnostic scans, travel costs, medication and medical equipment may be claimed as compensation.   You can also claim for medical costs you will incur in the future as a result of your injury.

Hospital and surgical costs

Serious injuries may require surgery or other treatment requiring a hospital stay. Surgical or hospital costs paid by you can be claimed as compensation as long as the surgery was necessary to treat your condition.

Rehabilitation costs

Rehabilitation following an injury may involve physiotherapy, home and vehicle modifications and ergonomic aids. Your reasonable costs of rehabilitation can be claimed back as compensation.

Loss of income and future earning capacity

If you suffer from a serious injury you may need time off work for several weeks or months. You can claim compensation for this lost income.

If your injury prevents you from working in the future to the same extent as you did prior to the injury you may also be able to claim loss of future income earning capacity. This is usually estimated as a lump sum figure based on the age of the person, their usual occupation and other skills.

Loss of Super

Compensation can be claimed for superannuation that would have been paid on lost income.

Care and Assistance

Serious injuries may prevent you from being able to perform tasks such as personal care, cleaning, laundry, mowing your lawns, caring for the garden or other domestic chores. If you formerly performed these duties but are now unable to as a result of an injury, you can claim compensation for care and assistance provided to you by friends, relatives or paid contractors.

In Queensland there is a minimum threshold for this type of compensation.

Interest

Interest can generally be claimed on compensation for any ‘out of pocket’ expenses that are incurred before your claim is resolved.

How will my compensation be determined?

In general terms, the amount of compensation is gauged by comparing what your life was like before the injury and what it is like now as a result of the injury. Therefore, someone whose injury has had a greater impact on their life will be entitled to more compensation than someone whose injury has had only minimal impact. The amount of compensation payable for an injury will vary greatly from case to case, depending on a variety of variables such as:

  • the severity of the injury: more severe injuries will attract more compensation
  • the age of the patient: young people are likely to receive greater compensation than older people for a similar injury as it will impact their lifestyle and employment for a longer period of time.
  • level of health prior to the incident: an active and healthy person may suffer more from an injury because they are unable to exercise the way they did prior to the accident and may become predisposed to mood disorders and other health conditions they may not have suffered were it not for their injury.
  • pre-incident lifestyle: injured claimants who formerly engaged in activities they can no longer participate in may experience greater impact from their injuries.
  • occupation: greater compensation will be payable where a person’s ability to work in their former occupation is impacted severely by their injuries.

What time limits apply to my claim?

For most personal injury claims, a legal action must be commenced within 3 years of the date of the injury. If you miss this deadline, your claim will be statute barred and you will lose all rights to claim compensation.

However, depending on where your injury occurred and who you are suing, specific pre-court procedures may apply which have their own time limits which are much sooner. If you miss these time limits you may lose your right to pursue your claim if you cannot provide sufficient reasons to the court as to why you delayed and why you should be allowed to proceed with your claim.

If your injuries were sustained at work

Statutory worker’s compensation claims in Queensland must be filed within 6 months from the date of the accident or the date you become aware of your injury.  If you intend to then sue your employer for negligence (otherwise known as a common law claim) you must request an assessment of permanent impairment from the workers’ compensation insurer within 2.5 years of the injury.

If you are under 18 years of age

For minors, the obligation to serve the other party with a Notice of Claim begins when the child turns 18, however a parent or guardian may do this on behalf of the minor before they turn 18.

In the case medical negligence claims, a parent or legal guardian of a minor must serve a Notice of Claim within 6 years of the day when the parent or guardian knew or ought to have known of the injury.

What to do if you have suffered a farming injury

Depending on the nature of your injury and the circumstances which caused it, compensation may or may not be available. You should always seek expert legal help to see if you are able to make a claim.

Strict time limits apply - seek legal advice ASAP - In most circumstances, the time limit to start a compensation claim is 3 years from the date of incident. Some processes need to be started much sooner. Seek expert legal advice ASAP. Call us on 1800 266 801 or start a live chat.

Next steps - get advice now

It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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Last update on:
May 29, 2018
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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