Spring is almost here, and with it comes planting season. Large swathes of the Illinois population engage in agricultural endeavors. Individuals who are both longtime state residents, as well as those who travel from region to region for seasonal work, will put in countless hours before the end of the 2019 growing season.
In many ways, tractors are a major boon for the people who work on farms. Very difficult work that once had to be performed manually is now handled primarily by machines. Plowing, cutting hay, harvesting crops, planting seeds and many other tasks are much easier thanks to farm equipment and tractors.
Tractors hurt many farm workers each year
For all the benefits that tractors represent for those working on farms, they are also the leading cause of fatal injury. Tractors can easily tip over, resulting in catastrophic and fatal injuries to the person operating it, as well as anyone standing nearby.
All too often, farms do not properly maintain their tractors and equipment. Some also expect workers to handle tractors with minimal experience or during extremely dangerous weather. Any of those factors can increase the job's risk.
Both farm workers who get hurt and surviving family members of farm workers who died on the job have the legal right to seek compensation after a tragic tractor accident.
Immigration status does not affect workers' compensation eligibility
Many immigrants come to the United States every year to work in agriculture. Sometimes, due to an oversight or other issues, these workers may occasionally experience a lapse in immigration status. Other times, workers, without proper paperwork, are willing to take the risks involved in order to provide for their families.
In both situations, workers who get hurt on the job still have the legal right to seek compensation. Federal rulings have made it clear that benefits offered through workers' compensation apply to anyone working in the United States, regardless of their immigration status.
Workers' compensation protects injured workers and their families
People can qualify for a wide range of benefits under workers' compensation programs in Illinois. Those benefits may include wage replacement for those unable to work due to an injury or illness-related disability.
The benefits also include medical coverage when injured workers seek care for work-related injuries. Finally, surviving family members of workers killed on the job can seek compensation through death benefits. These benefits provide surviving family members with a portion of the deceased worker's income.
Anyone who gets hurt on a tractor or who loses a loved one in a tractor accident has rights. Talking to an attorney who understands Illinois' complicated workers' compensation program is a good first step toward determining your options after a tragic tractor accident.