Originally published: April 9, 2019 — Updated: August 3, 2022
Update: In addition to understanding the types of tractor accidents that commonly occur on farms as detailed below, victims who are injured in these situations will need to determine who was responsible. By establishing fault for an injury, a person can ensure that they will be able to pursue compensation from all available sources. Accidents involving tractors may occur because of:
Operator error – A person operating a tractor may fail to follow the correct safety procedures, causing them to strike or run over other farm workers or causing a rollover accident that injures multiple people. Farm employees who are injured on the job because of the actions of a tractor operator will typically be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Defective parts – If the components of a tractor do not work correctly, entanglement or other types of accidents can occur. In these cases, a victim may be able to pursue a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the tractor or other equipment.
Improper maintenance – Breakdowns or other safety issues may occur if a farm owner failed to properly maintain a tractor. If someone else was responsible for performing maintenance, such as an outside contractor, a victim may be able to pursue a third-party claim to recover compensation for injuries caused by negligent maintenance.
Negligent drivers – Traffic accidents may occur because other drivers failed to share the road safely with tractors. In these situations, a driver who acted negligently may be held liable for a victim’s injuries.
If you have been injured while working on or around a tractor, you may have multiple options for recovering compensation for your damages. At Kanoski Bresney, we can help you file workers’ compensation claims and determine whether there are any other available avenues for receiving financial compensation that will address all of the ways you and your family have been affected. Contact our Decatur tractor accident lawyers today at 888-826-8682 to set up a free consultation.
Many people mistakenly assume that farming equipment like tractors operate just like other vehicles. Harvesting equipment, agricultural vehicles, tractors, and other farm equipment manufacturers do not design these devices for safety and only those who understand how these vehicles work should operate them. Farming equipment accidents remain a common cause of accidental work-related injuries in the U.S.
Tractor Accident Statistics
- The National Agricultural Tractor Safety Initiative reports that tractors cause about 130 deaths annually – that’s 50% of all farm worker deaths each year.
- The U.S. Department of Labor (USDL) reports that 44% of farm accidents are due to tractor rollovers – making rollovers the most common type of tractor accident.
- Tractors accounted for over 2,000 deaths on farms in the U.S. between 1992 and 2001.
- Collisions with motor vehicles account for about 50 tractor operator deaths each year.
Tractor accidents can cause serious injuries. Additionally, those accidents that occur in more remote farmland could mean a victim faces a much longer wait for emergency responders and hospitalization. When tractor accidents occur, victims and their families should determine the cause of the accidents and whether any parties like the tractor’s manufacturer are liable for the resulting damages.
Most Common Kinds of Tractor Accidents
Tractors and other farm equipment typically have specialized tools for specific tasks. Some of the most common types of tractor accidents include common reasons for vehicle accidents as well as incidents with specialized farming tools.
1. Rollover Accidents
Rollover accidents cause roughly 60 fatalities each year in the U.S. When a large tractor rolls over the operator can easily sustain serious falling injuries and crushing injuries from the tractor itself.
2. Collisions With Other Cars
Motor vehicle accidents account for about 50 tractor operator deaths each year. In areas where agricultural workers take tractors and other farm equipment on local roads, these large vehicles can also cause traffic accidents. Tractors do not often work on paved or perfectly level surfaces, which can cause slower speeds and difficulty maneuvering out of the way of traffic.
About 10 people each year suffer fatal injuries from entanglement with tractor equipment, such as internal gears, pulleys, chains, and belts. Improper use of tractors may also cause accidents such as run-over incidents. Tractor operators should only attempt to start and operate their tractors from the operators’ seats.
4. Falling or Tipping
Tractor operators ride higher off the ground than most passenger vehicle drivers, causing them to be more susceptible to falling or tipping accidents. Due to their top-heavy nature, and instability on paved roads, tractor operators face the risk of falling into animal burrows, sinkholes, or rolling over from uneven terrain that is difficult to see. A driver who experiences a tip-over accident will likely sustain falling injuries upon hitting the ground.
Common Safety Issues With Tractors
Anyone who uses farming equipment like tractors must understand how these vehicles work and acknowledge their inherent safety flaws. Tractor manufacturers develop these vehicles for a specific purpose; therefore, anyone who attempts to use one should thoroughly understand proper operation and consult the manufacturer’s included safety warnings and instructions for use. However, some risks of tractors are unavoidable.
More than half of the tractors in use in the U.S. are older models with outdated safety features.
Farm equipment, when maintained well, can last a very long time. Newer tractors have safety regulations in place that allows them to be sold in the U.S., such as:
- Rollover Prevention Features
- Internal Warnings Systems
- Seat Belts
- Guard Rails
If a tractor manufacturing company released an unreasonably dangerous or defective product and caused an injury to an end user, the company is liable for the resulting damages under product liability law. Failure to warn users of known safety risks, failure to include appropriate directions for proper use, and failure to address known defects with a product would all constitute product liability.
A Springfield farm accident attorney can help an individual injured in a tractor accident determine the liable party or parties and build a personal injury case to recover his or her losses.