Agricultural and field workers are often unaware of their right to receive workers’ compensation for on-the-job injuries. Learn more about which kinds of benefits are available and how to receive them.
What Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Workers’ compensation benefits are special payments that compensate you for getting hurt at work. Your employer should have an insurance policy that pays for the benefits. When you have an injury, you can receive wage-loss benefits to make up for time off work or reduced wages. You also can receive payment of your medical expenses. If you cannot return to the same job after an injury, you can receive vocational rehab benefits to help you find and adjust to a new job.
How Can Agricultural Workers Take Advantage of the Benefits Available?
When you work in the fields or other agricultural workplaces, reporting a workplace injury can be tough. Your supervisor might be miles away or unavailable. Or you might face threats and retaliation for telling someone that you are hurt. But you need to report the injury to get benefits. Consider asking a coworker to go with you as a witness when you tell the supervisor.
After you report your injury, your employer is supposed to contact its workers’ compensation insurance company. Ask your supervisor to tell you when this happens, so that you can watch for a notice from the insurer. The notice will tell you if benefits are granted or denied. If your benefits get denied or if no one contacts the insurance company, talk to a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer about your case.
Other Issues that Agricultural and Field Workers Face
Some companies may call field and agricultural workers “independent contractors” or “seasonal work” and deny them workers’ comp on that basis. Further, some workers at small family farms are exempt from the workers’ comp requirements, but employers may not understand the specific requirements to meet this exemption. As a result, injured “contractors” or “farmhands” may be employees who are eligible for benefits under the law. Again, contact a lawyer if you are in this situation.
One final issue: some agricultural and field workers are not legal citizens of the United States. They may not have papers, be on a visa, or be a resident. This should not be an obstacle to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Any employees, no matter their citizenship status, are eligible. If this is you, you may need a lawyer’s help to protect you from legal scrutiny and help you get the benefits you need.
Need help 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.