From fresh vegetables to juicy citrus fruits, everything is grown on Florida's fertile land. Due to its climate, landscape, and skilled workforce, Florida's agribusiness industry has been flourishing in the past decades. And, of course, it is a reliable source of revenue, supporting our state's economy.
Given the nature of the work involved in agribusiness, it's also one of the industries that pose major personal injury risks.
Florida farm employees suffer serious injuries almost every day. Nationally, farm injuries account for a fatality rate of up to 20.4 deaths per 100K people over the course of just one year.
Are You Entitled to Compensation if You Get Injured on the Job?
If you work in the agribusiness industry, you are entitled to compensation if you get injured on the job due to someone else's negligence.
The purpose of compensation is to put you in a situation as if your injury had never happened. In short, to make you "whole" again. If we're being honest, no amount of money can make you "whole" again after a serious injury or the wrongful death of a loved one. But the truth is, compensation does help to address your monetary losses and ease the burdens of your ongoing stress.
What it all boils down to is that an experienced lawyer can help you recover compensation, including medical bill payment, lost wages, and punitive - or punishment - damages. At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, you can count on legal advice and professional representation if you, or a close family member, were hurt in a farm accident.
For your best representation, we invest in professional investigators and experts that help us build strong personal injury cases to hold these potentially responsible parties accountable:
- The designer of the farming equipment or defective part
- The manufacturer of defective farming machines
- The manufacturer of the defective safety equipment
Read on and find out more about Florida agribusiness accident risks, injuries, and your right to file a personal injury claim or sue if you get injured at work.
Florida Agribusiness Injuries
Let's dive in. Despite its importance as a source of essential products and revenue, Florida's agribusiness also accounts for serious injuries among its workers. A job on a farm can have more risks and be more dangerous than other occupations. And guess what? This is mainly due to the powerful modern machinery often used in agribusiness activities.
You should get reliable training beforehand when you have to operate any such machinery used in:
- Field-related works
- Crop gathering
In fact, besides getting trained on how to operate these machines, you also need to be informed about specific safety measures. And, of course, you also must have reliable safety equipment.
Here's the deal: it's the employer's duty to do this. Before getting to work on any machine, every worker should get reliable training for each machine or piece of equipment. And any problem related to the machinery should be immediately reported and fixed.
As a matter of fact, many injuries are often registered on farms due to:
- Slip and falls
- Accidents related to falling objects
Here is why: agricultural work entails a lot of physical labor that can be linked to risks correlated to:
- Lack of attention
- Lack of correct warning signs.
A Few Fine Points About Florida Agribusiness Statistics & Companies
Before we tell you more about your right to file a claim or sue if you get injured at work, some context. You might've been working in agriculture for years without being aware of its complexity or its contribution to the state's economy.
Here's why we've gathered some statistics to help with a better understanding of this industry's evolution and perspectives:
- There are approximately 48K commercial farms in Florida, expanded on 9.25M acres of land.
- The tropical vegetables, nursery, and greenhouse productions make Miami-Dade County our national "Salad Bowl" and "Winter Bread Basket".
- There are 3.5K more farms now than a decade ago.
- Each year, more than 20K employees contribute $2.7B to the national economy.
- Some of the sectors where Florida's agribusiness has been ranking no.1 in the U.S. in recent years include the production of grapefruit, oranges, watermelons, tangerines, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, squash, snap beans, sugarcane for sugar and seed.
- In 2017, Florida had 56% of the total U.S. production of oranges, 54% of grapefruit, 38% of cucumbers for processing, and 34% of fresh market tomatoes.
- Other sectors where we rank very well include honey, bell peppers, strawberries, and cucumbers for pickles.
- Since 2018, Florida has had more than 1.60M head of cattle.
- It's assumed that by 2030, six more million people will live in Florida due to the state's diversified transportation infrastructure that includes roads, railway networks, international airports, and important water shipping seaports.
Are you impressed? Because we are. All this data means that agribusiness will continue to thrive, as products will be sent faster to national and international markets and selling points.
Moving on, the promising perspectives and the qualified workforce in Florida account for a large number of companies active in agribusiness. Some of the biggest operators in the state are:
- Aquathin Corp.
- Clay Hill Evergreen Nursery
- Dockside Seafood, Inc.
- FL Biofuels LLC
- Florida's Natural Growers
- Island Grove Products
- Mariculture Technology International
- Minorcan Datil Pepper Products
- Providence Cattle Co.
- Southeast Growers, Inc.
- Tropic Star Seafood, Inc.
- W. Lee Flowers and Company
- Whitworth Sales, Inc.
- Winter Park Dairy
- Asheville Aquaponics
- Bayer CropScience
- BCJ's Tree & Lawn Care Service
- Broward Landscape Inc.
- Green Team Solutions
- Kevin Greer, Bush Hogging, and Tractor Work Services
- Mike's Trucking and Landscaping Materia
- Precise Lawn Care Service
- Robert Clauss Landscaping & Garden Maintenance Services, Inc.
- Seminis Vegetable Seed
- Speedling Inc.
- Turf Tenders Lawn Service LLC
What Kind of Agribusiness Injuries Occur More Often?
Many accidents occur annually in Florida's thriving agribusiness industry. Defective equipment and tractor/ trailer or ATV accidents are among the most common accidents registered in the agribusiness field.
It is estimated that nearly 25% of accidents related to farm machinery are caused by tractors. One of the most severe types of motor vehicle accidents is the tractor overturn.
In fact, to prevent such serious injuries and fatalities, the use of a tractor with a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) and a seatbelt has become mandatory. Since 2014, more than 60% of tractors manufactured in the U.S. have been designed with ROPS systems. If you were asked on the job to operate a tractor that was not provided with a protective structure and seatbelt, remember that that was not legal.
When farm employees work with machines that have the potential to cut, catch, crush, burn, or cause other harm, designers, manufacturers, and employers must take steps to ensure their safety and prevent catastrophic consequences.
These catastrophic consequences can lead to huge medical expenses, causing loss of income or earning potential, and permanently lowering a worker's quality of life.
Short story long: farming machinery-related accidents can lead to serious bodily injury, including:
- Brain damage
- Head or neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Loss of limbs and amputation
So, the takeaway: negligence is the cause of many farming accidents. And many could've been prevented with the use of safety equipment, warning labels, adequate training, and fellow workers' attention.
Potentially liable third parties who can be sued for compensation through a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Contractors or subcontractors
- Suppliers who provided faulty materials or equipment
- Manufacturers of faulty machinery or workplace vehicles
- Cleaning companies who did not put up warning signs
- Repair companies who failed to properly fix faulty equipment
- Manufacturers of other products (i.e. ladders)
- Drunk drivers who come into the workplace and injure a worker
Who Can Be Sued?
What it all boils down to is that agricultural workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in Florida. You may be unaware, but farm industry accidents very often:
- have serious physical consequences
- keep an employee from returning to work
- require ongoing medical treatment.
Farm-related accidents are sadly tragic and many are avoidable. However, third-party liability claims or lawsuits allow you to go after parties who were negligent and caused the workplace accident. Contact our personal injury attorney as soon as possible.