Can Injured Farm Workers Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits?
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Can Injured Farm Workers Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Many farm workers may not realize that they can receive workers’ comp benefits for injuries. On a busy farm, accidents may happen without warning and cause serious trauma. Getting immediate and ongoing medical treatment for injuries and getting payment for lost wages can make all the difference for a hardworking farm employee.

Which Farm Workers Can Apply for Benefits?

The Minnesota workers’ compensation laws say that a few types of farm workers are not eligible for benefits. These workers include:

  • Anyone employed by a “family farm” (definition discussed below)
  • Spouse, parents, or children working for a farmer
  • A partner in a farm operation and his or her spouse, parents, and children
  • An executive officer of a farm corporation
  • Another farmer or a member of the other farmer’s family exchanging work with a farmer

(Minn. Stat. § 176.041, subd. 1.) A “family farm” has a specific legal definition. It means a farm operation that pays (1) wages of less than $8,000 in the previous year, or (2) pays wages that are less than the statewide average annual wage provided that it has a farm liability insurance policy meeting specific requirements (including that the policy covers injuries to farm laborers). (Minn. Stat. § 176.011, subd. 11a.) Since this is a technical definition, farm workers should check with a workers’ compensation attorney to see if they have a case.

If You Work at a Family Farm and Get Injured, Are You Out of Luck?

Just because you work at a family farm or are related to a farmer, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Some farmers purchase workers’ comp insurance policies even though they are not legally required to do so. Ask the owner of the farm whether he or she has a policy that covers you. You might be surprised to learn that you can get benefits.

Do Independent Contractors Qualify for Workers’ Comp?

In Minnesota, farm workers are usually not considered to be independent contractors. The only exceptions are if they are working as commercial balers or commercial threshers. Sometimes, employers misclassify workers as independent contractors when they should be employees who are covered by workers’ compensation laws. If you believe you have been misclassified and got injured at work, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer.

Are you a farm worker who needs helps getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.