Every year over 1,300 farmers are killed, and over 120,000 others are injured as the result of an accident involving farm equipment. Accidents do not happen on their own and are almost always the result of another’s negligence, manufacturing and design defects, or failure to warn. Farm equipment is often large and powerful, and can pose a huge danger of catastrophic injury or death if something goes wrong. If you believe a design flaw, manufacturing defect, or the negligence of others caused you or a loved one to suffer catastrophic injury or wrongful death, it is in your best interest to contact one of our experienced and highly qualified farm equipment defect lawyers at Reiff & Bily, who can begin an in-depth investigation regarding your claim, and get you on the road to recovery.
Injuries Resulting from Tractor Use
Tractors pose the greatest health risk to farmers and can cause severe injuries through rollovers, crush accidents, and run over accidents because they often lack safety devices. Many severe injuries caused by tractor rollovers could be prevented or lessened if farm equipment was outfitted with safety devices like roll bars, shaft guards, and seat belts. Unfortunately, many manufacturers of farm equipment do not include safety structures as standard devices on their machinery as a way of cutting production costs. Because farm machinery, like tractors and augers, can be so large and powerful, rollovers and falls from equipment can lead to severe crush injuries, resulting in permanent disability, and death.
Injuries Caused by Hay Balers
Hay balers and grain augers can be extremely dangerous and pose a risk of entanglement and amputation if a string, strap, loose clothing, hair, or limb gets sucked in to the shafts or trapped by the moving parts. Astonishingly, many of these machines are missing safety guards, shields, and emergency shut-off mechanisms, even though safety measures like these have the potential to save hundreds of lives. Injuries from hay balers, tractors, and auger accidents are often catastrophic and can include broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, limb amputation, paraplegia, quadriplegia, blindness, and death.
Hayride Injuries in New Jersey
Farm equipment accidents also occur when equipment is being used for recreational purposes, like when tractors are used for hayrides. What is meant to be a low-speed, and relatively safe autumn amusement for families, can actually be quite dangerous if the trailer with passengers is too heavy for the tractor to pull, if someone is thrown from the trailer, if the trailer jackknifes and slides down a hill, if a trailer is struck by another vehicle, or if the trailer comes unhitched from the tractor. Catastrophic crush injuries, brain damage, and death have all resulted when a hayride passenger falls out of the trailer and gets run over or pinned underneath the trailer tires. Trailer safety groups state that there is no training or safety regulation for how to properly and safely drive a trailer full of people because trailers are designed to carry cargo only, and unfortunately, many hayride operators have cut corners on safety and have improperly staffed the loading and unloading positions of the rides.
Many times, farm equipment accidents occur because the operator has not received adequate training and instruction, or has failed to be warned of the hazards inherent in using heavy farm machinery. Improper maintenance and faulty repairs can also lead to devastating accidents. Farm equipment not only poses risks to farmers, but also children. Numerous accidents have occurred when farmers have backed up without seeing a small child in their path, running over and crushing or lacerating the child. Agriculture groups have urged lawmakers and farm equipment manufacturers to include devices on machines that prevent equipment from operating when placed in reverse, or prevent blades or other parts from moving when the machine is put in reverse. Unfortunately, safety devices and guards such as these are not always required, so manufacturers may not include them on their equipment to cut costs. The farm accident and product liability lawyers of Reiff & Bily believe that safety should never be an option.
Injured Using Farm Equipment in New Jersey? Contact Our Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one was catastrophically injured, or wrongfully killed in a farm equipment accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Our skilled and experienced farm accident lawyers can help you determine if a third party is responsible for your injuries and medical bills. Farm equipment accidents involve product liability, a highly complex area of law, and for over 34 years, our product liability lawyers have successfully represented clients who have been catastrophically injured due to poor design, failure to warn of dangers, and manufacturing defects. We firmly believe manufacturers must be held accountable for their shortcuts and mistakes, and are committed to seeing that justice is done.
- Front end loader accidents
- Falls from tractors
- By-Pass starting – starting engine when standing beside machine, not while on top of or in driver seat of machine, especially if the tractor is in gear
- Tractor run-overs
- Tractor rollovers
- PTO (power take-off) stub shaft entanglements, shields removed
- Improper hitching
- Roll Over Protection Structures required on new equipment but many old machines don’t have it, and employers don’t try to adapt ROPS to their equipment, hard to retrofit
- Removing shields and guards (on augers)
- Shields reduce opportunity to become wrapped up in rapidly moving and turning parts (especially shields near the intake)
- Electrocution from auger coming into contact with overhead power lines
- Entanglement in hay baler shafts
- Engineering designs have resulted in better shielding of drive shafts and other moving parts, farm machinery may remain in service for 40 years or more, and many farmers may be using machinery with inadequate shielding.