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Hanford Farm Machine Accidents

Hanford residents see them in the fields and on the streets every day. Farm machines that do everything from tilling and planting to harvesting and hauling. These machines are complex, versatile and make modern farming possible. However, with these machines come injuries, and most Hanford farmworkers have either been involved in an injury accident or know someone who has.

When Hanford residents do get injured or killed in a farming accident, Maison Law stands ready to get justice and fair compensation for the victim. Martin Gasparian is the founder of Maison Law, and he believes that when someone is injured due to another’s negligence, they should get justice and fair compensation for their injuries.

Top Five Farm Machines and Accidents

Farm machines do just about everything like ridding the soil of previous crops, primary and secondary soil tilling, fertilizer distribution and application, seeding and planting. They help with weeding and pest control, harvesting, hauling, storing and even erosion control and water conservation.

Though every machine can be dangerous, the following are the top types of farm machinery accidents.

Tractor

The tractor is the backbone and central piece of equipment for Hanford farmers. A tractor is used to pull, push, haul and with attachments, a tractor can do just about every function that other dedicated machines can do.

The most common tractor accident happens when a tractor tips over with the operator risking getting caught in the machinery. There are many reasons why a tractor tips over and most have some aspect of operator error. Some of the most common reasons for a tractor tip-over are:

  • Uneven terrain
  • Improper braking
  • Improper use of counterweights
  • Wheels set too closely together
  • Backing down a hill
  • Load too high/top-heavy

Planters/Harvesters/Combines

Planters or seeders are usually pulled by a tractor and does what it’s named for, plants seeds. Like any farm machine, workers can get caught on many of the moving parts or simply get pulled under the machine.

Harvesters have a lot of moving parts and some need constant calibration. Many workers calibrate and adjust while the machine is on to save time, but this has caused the death of many farmers.

Combines are used to harvest wheat corn and other grains, and as the name says, it combines three functions into one machine. It reaps (cuts the crop) threshes (loosens the grain from the chaff) and winnows (separates and spreads) the excess plant material back into the soil.

With all these moving parts, a combine can be one of the most dangerous machines on the farm. The biggest cause of death is getting sucked into the machine by a piece of loose clothing often while the farmer is adjusting the machine or clearing out a jam.

Cars Passing Farm Vehicles

Tractors and other farm vehicles need to be on the road to access farmland, and most of these go no more than 25 mph causing drivers to pass them. Some of the most common accidents are:

  • Left Turn Collisions: The most common passing accident happens when the farm vehicle turns left off of the road and the driver pulls a bit to the right so it can make a wide left turn, then motorist sees it move to the right and then passes only to have the rig turn back left.
  • Rural Bridges: Some rural bridges are narrow leaving little room for vehicles to pass, yet some try anyway. Either the passing vehicle hits the farm vehicle, or if the tractor has high wheels with large lugs and the operator moves to the right to avoid the oncoming or passing car, it can climb the rail and tip over.
  • Passing Cars/Trucks: Other passing crashes include vehicles passing in no-passing zones, at the base of a hill or incline, in a curve or in any situation where oncoming traffic visibility is low. Either the passing car hits another car head-on or it hits the farm vehicle while attempting to avoid the oncoming car.
  • Rear-end: While technically not a passing vehicle accident, it occurs when a car comes upon a slow-moving farm rig, and doesn’t slow enough, or bails on an attempt to pass because of oncoming traffic and hits the farm vehicle from behind.

Farm Equipment Liability

In any accident, the at-fault person or company is required to pay for the damages. When a driver is at fault in a passing or rear-end accident, then the driver’s insurance company will pay. However, many times, it’s not so simple as to who is at fault. In a tip-over accident, it may be the operator, but it also might be faulty design, defective equipment or any other problems that led to the accident.

How to Determine Liability

The bottom line is, the party/person/company whose negligence causes the accident is liable. However, unlike a car accident where someone runs a red light, it’s not always clear cut to determine liability in a farm machine accident.

The best thing to do is to contact an attorney who has experience in farm tractor accidents and to find out your rights and possible sources of compensation. In many cases, the fault is not obvious, and only after a thorough investigation can the at-fault party be determined.

Third-Party Liability

There are many ways to get hurt or killed on a farm, and when that happens, there may by more than one person or company that is responsible. Often times the fault is caused by human error, but other times defective equipment or poor design can be a contributing cause.

In California, fault can be split up between parties, and each party will have to pay their percentage of the fault. This is called comparative fault, and it allows farmworkers to recover for their injuries even though they had some liability in the accident.

Damages

Once liability is determined, then the injured victim is entitled to certain damages allowed under the law. In California, the law allows for all losses stemming from the negligence of the party. The most common damages are:

  • Medical Bills (Past and Future)
  • Rehabilitation (Past and Future)
  • Damage to Bicycle or Replacement
  • Travel Costs
  • Missed Time from Work
  • Future Loss of Income
  • Permanent Disability
  • Permanent Disfigurement
  • Loss of Quality of Life
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Mental Anguish/PTSD

Contact a Hanford Personal Injury Lawyer.

After any farm machine accident involving a serious injury in Hanford, contact attorney Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice and the personalized attention to detail their case deserves.

Contact Maison Law today at 559-203-3333 or by using our contact form.

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