Farm Work Accident Compensation

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If you, or someone close to you, has suffered a farm work injury in Queensland due to the negligence or fault of another party, you might wonder if you're entitled to farm accident injury compensation.

This straightforward guide aims to help you understand the intricacies of claiming farm accident compensation, including your rights to compensation, common causes of such farm injuries, an overview of the claims process, frequently asked questions, and time limits for making a claim specific to Queensland. 

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offers free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in the hospital, in-office, or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights After a Farm Work Injury in Queensland

If you've been injured while working on a farm in Queensland, it's important to know what rights you have. As well as making a common law claim, the state has some compensatory schemes depending on how you were injured. 

  • Road accident claims: If your work requires you to be out on the road and you sustained an injury, you can seek compensation through Queensland's Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Claims Scheme. This covers drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists where they're injured and it wasn't their fault. 
  • Work accident claims: Regardless of fault, you could be eligible to claim for farm accident compensation via WorkCover Queensland or your employer's Workers Compensation Scheme (if they are self-insured). If your employer's negligence results in your injury, you can lodge a common law claim against them.
  • Public place claims: Farm injuries might not always happen in private. If your accident occurred in a public place, such as a produce market, you may be able to claim against the public liability insurer of the area. 

Speaking to farm accident lawyers can help you understand what options are open to you. Smith's Lawyers offer a free case review to help you understand what your claim could look like.

Common Causes of Farm Work Injuries

Working in the agricultural sector, particularly on farms, presents a range of hazards that can often lead to unfortunate accidents and injuries. Did you know that in Queensland, the agriculture industry accounts for 3% of the workforce but 30% of workplace deaths?

Recognising these dangers is the first step toward prevention. Some of the common causes of farm work injuries include: 

  • Operating machinery: Farms require the use of heavy machinery, including tractors and harvesters. Farm accidents can often occur from inexperience, lack of safety measures or mechanical failures.
  • Exposure to harmful substances: Farms often utilise chemicals such as pesticides and fertilisers. Farm hands exposed to these substances without the proper protective equipment can cause health issues ranging from mild skin irritations to severe respiratory problems, as well as other hazardous substances accidents.
  • Falling from heights: Harvesting crops or performing maintenance tasks can require working at heights. Falls from ladders, rooftops or trees commonly result in injuries.
  • Animal-related incidents: Working with farm animals carries its risks. An animal may act unpredictably and kick or trample a worker, leading to severe injury. Similarly, handling livestock can expose workers to a variety of diseases.
  • Heat Stress: Queensland's warm climate can lead to heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and dehydration, especially those working long hours outdoors. In 2019, there were 686 serious injury claims made by workers on a working holiday visa in Australia. Many of these are likely due to people working in conditions they aren't used to.
  • Fatigue and overwork: The high-demand nature of farm work often leads to long, strenuous hours. Fatigue increases the likelihood of farm accidents occurring due to a lapse in focus or physical exhaustion.

If you have experienced one of the above and want to see whether you are eligible to claim compensation, we recommend speaking to a team of farm accident compensation lawyers or personal injury compensation lawyers to get clarity and begin the process.

Common Types of Farm Work Injuries

In 2019, there were 3,533 serious injury claims in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in Australia. Unlike other industries, the potential for injury can be high due to the diverse range of manual labour involved.

Understanding some of the most common injuries can help you appreciate how long your recovery might take. These include:

  • Crush injuries: Hands, legs, and feet are often the most common parts of the body to get crushed. On a farm, this could happen from being trapped between heavy machinery. Recovery could require extensive surgery and lots of physiotherapy.
  • Fall injuries: Falls from ladders, silos or machinery are common and can lead to back and neck injuries. In Queensland, 15% of farm injury claims are related to falls, trips and slips. A bad hit to the head can lead to a concussion, which might not show symptoms straightaway.
  • Chemical burn injuries: Fertilisers and other industrial chemicals are particularly harmful to the skin. When in their concentrated form, they can lead to extreme burns that could leave you scarred for life. 
  • Cuts and lacerations: Farm hands will commonly use equipment like knives, shears or chainsaws. It only takes a moment for your attention to wander, leading to cuts. In severe cases, stitches could be required and a farm also carries a high risk of infection. 

If you've suffered a severe farm injury that wasn't your fault, you could be entitled to worker's compensation. If you think you have a farm accident claim, you should speak to farm accident compensation lawyers who can help you understand your options.

Workers Most at Risk of Farm Accident Injuries

Some jobs and industries within the farm sector carry a higher risk of work-related injuries than others. Let’s take a closer look at why: 

  • Livestock farming: Having seen claim rates as high as 102.5 per 1000 employees, handling livestock comes with some pretty big risks. The reason for this might be the amount of direct contact with unpredictable animals, which can lead to common farm accidents despite safety protocols in place.
  • Mobile plant and transport: Workers who operate and maintain heavy machinery like tractors, ATVs and other farm vehicles are always at a high risk. A lack of attention or tiredness can often result in tractor accidents, machine rollovers, collisions and incidents involving unguarded machinery.
  • Non-powered tools and equipment: Farm workers handling non-powered tools and equipment account for 18% of injury claims. The hazards associated with manual labour, including improper lifting and carrying techniques and repetitive strain injuries, contribute to this statistic.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Injury Caused By Objects Falling From Heights

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

Trying to make a farm accident compensation claim can feel like a daunting experience. We've created a simplified guide to explain the process. But remember, before you attempt to claim workers compensation, ensure you've seen a doctor and any medical issues have been suitably diagnosed. Your health should always be your number one concern.

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make a farm injury claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your farm accident compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical treatment expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence Do I Need to Support My Farm Work Claim?

All workers' compensation claims need to ensure they have evidence to succeed. To bolster yours, gathering relevant information is key.

This will support your case and increase your chances of receiving the farm accident compensation you're entitled to. Here are the types of evidence you might need: 

  • Medical reports: These provide a detailed account of your injuries, treatment received and any future requirements you may have. They are essential in determining the validity of your claim and projecting potential medical costs.
  • Witness testimonies: Witnesses who saw the accident can provide detailed accounts of what happened, helping to establish liability. This could be fellow farm workers, passersby or even the first responders to the scene.
  • Proof of the accident: This might include photos of the location of the accident, any farm machinery or tools involved and any visible injuries. A detailed written account of what happened as soon as possible after the accident can also be helpful.
  • Expense details: Keep a tally of all expenses incurred due to your injury. This might include medical bills, the cost of rehabilitation or therapy and any modification costs to your home or vehicle due to your injuries.
  • Proof of lost earnings: If your injuries have prevented you from working, either short or long-term, proof of lost earnings will be necessary. Pay slips, tax returns or a letter from your employer can be used to this effect.

While it may seem like a daunting task, Smith's Lawyers can guide you through each step, ensuring you gather the most effective evidence for your claim. We offer a free case review that could help you get started.

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

If you've been injured while working on a farm in Queensland, you might wonder how much you could potentially receive in compensation. The amount isn't fixed and is calculated based on several factors unique to your situation – from the severity of your injury to the impact on your future earnings. Here's a look at what typical compensation payments can cover: 

  • Past and future loss of earnings: Compensation can help offset the wages you've lost due to your inability to work following an injury. It can also account for projected future losses, factoring in elements like missed promotions or pay rises and even loss of superannuation contributions.
  • Hospital and medical expenses: The costs associated with immediate medical care following your injury can be reimbursed. This includes emergency services, surgery, medication and any other relevant medical costs.
  • Rehabilitation costs: The road to recovery often involves rehabilitation. Costs for services like physiotherapy, occupational therapy and necessary adaptions to your living environment can be included in your farm accident compensation claim.
  • Pain and suffering: Known in legal terms as 'general damages', this acknowledges the impact of the injury that isn't financial, such as pain, distress and reduced enjoyment or quality of life.

However, remember that the same injury doesn't necessarily result in a set payout amount. Many factors influence the sum you may receive, such as the severity of your injury and any permanent impairment it causes.

Other considerations include your recovery, how the injury affects your particular line of work, your age and your earning potential. Age can also be a factor. The same injury received by someone younger could receive a higher payout compared to a pensioner. 

How Can Farm Work Injuries Impact Your Ability to Work?

Farm work injuries can dramatically affect your capacity to work, both temporarily and permanently. Short-term injuries can lead to an extended period away from work while you recover – time that equates to lost income. 

Meanwhile, long-term or permanent injuries may limit your ability to complete certain tasks or potentially prevent you from returning to farm work altogether. There might be a need for you to retrain or find a new job within a different industry, which can also be a significant financial burden. 

The long-term consequences, such as career setbacks from missed work experience or the emotional burden of not being able to return to a job you loved, can't be underestimated. Similarly, injuries can affect your ability to fulfil your responsibilities if you are on a working holiday visa, potentially forcing you to leave Australia early. 

Keep in mind that compensation claims need to consider your past and future loss of income due to your injury, factored alongside your medical treatment expenses and other related costs. The gravity of your injuries and their impact on your ability to earn will considerably influence your payout.

Time Limits for Farm Work Injuries

In Queensland, it's crucial to understand the time restrictions when considering a compensation claim for farm work injuries.

As a general rule, you must lodge your claim within three years of the injury or accident occurring. Bear in mind that the complexities of these matters can sometimes affect these time limits, depending on the specifics of your accident.

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment.
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle accident injuries in Queensland:

  • You have nine months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the nine months but must be within three years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim.
  • Or, you have one month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (one month vs nine months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within one month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have three months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the three-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard nine-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have three years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper farm accident compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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I was injured by an animal at a farm, can I make a claim?

There are potential avenues for compensation, depending on the circumstances:

  • Worker Injured by Farm Animal: If your work duties expose you to the risk of animal-related injury, workers' compensation claims are often relevant. This protects against the inherent risks of working with livestock.
  • Visitor Injured by Farm Animal: In this case, determining compensation requires assessing the farmer's duty of care for visitor safety. Public liability claims could be explored if you sustained farm injuries due to the owner’s failure to sufficiently manage hazardous areas or maintain animal control. Legal advice will determine your legal position.
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Can I make a claim if I'm a family member helping out on the farm?

It depends. Workers' compensation rules for unpaid family helpers can be complex. Factors like regular duties, control over work activities, and your overall 'worker' status in a legal sense come into play. Always seek specialized legal advice to clarify your eligibility for workers' compensation if you were injured as an unpaid helper on a family farm.

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What if I was injured by defective farm machinery – can I sue the manufacturer?

Potentially, yes. Alongside a workers' compensation claim, pursuing the machinery manufacturer under product liability laws may be viable. These claims arise when defective design or faulty components lead to injury, offering an additional route to compensation. A lawyer will gauge whether you have a strong product liability case.

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I'm on a working holiday visa and was injured doing farm work. Can I still claim compensation?

Generally, yes, you can claim injury compensation. Your visa status does not negate your eligibility for workers' compensation if a workplace injury occurs. Employers who hire people on working holiday visas require workers' compensation insurance, so the same avenues of injury compensation exist. Always verify this obligation with your employer.

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My injuries mean I can't complete the farm work needed to extend my visa. What are my options for farm injury compensation?

Unfortunately, losing the ability to perform necessary farm work could jeopardise your visa eligibility. Consider the following:

  • Compassionate Grounds: Seeking a visa extension based on medical grounds or hardship caused by the accident might be an option. Engage a migration lawyer to explore if a visa extension is viable and navigate the process alongside your injury lawyer.
  • Vocational Support: Seek assistance within your workers' compensation claim to identify retraining and possible alternative avenues of fulfilling visa requirements. This is best addressed in consultation with both legal and migration professionals.
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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically, with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

If you suffer injuries whilst at work, and you are looking for further information in terms of making a claim. Here at Smith's Lawyers, we offer a free consultation for injured people looking to seek compensation. As mentioned before, we also have a "No Win. No Fee. No Catch." policy, which means you will never be out of pocket.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
March 15, 2024

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 help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.