There are millions of agricultural workers in the U.S., and many of them reside in the state of Oklahoma. The agriculture industry is dangerous and the work is difficult. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 100 agricultural workers suffer workplace injuries every day. Some of these injuries are minor, but others are serious enough to affect the worker’s ability to perform their job duties. Are these injured workers entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? Here’s what you need to know:
Are Agricultural Workers Covered By the Workers’ Compensation System?
Most workers in Oklahoma are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for work-related injuries, but there are some exceptions. The law states that certain groups of workers are not covered by the workers’ compensation system, which means they are not eligible for benefits for work-related injuries. Agriculture and horticulture workers are not covered if their employer paid less than $100,000 to agricultural and horticultural workers in the previous year.
For example, let’s say you are an injured agricultural worker who works for an employer who paid their workers a total of $150,000 in wages last year. You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits since your employer’s payroll is over $100,000. However, you would not be entitled to benefits if your employer’s payroll was less than $100,000 last year.
Are All Types of Agricultural Injuries Covered?
You will not automatically receive benefits simply because you are covered by the workers’ compensation system. You are only eligible for benefits if your injuries were sustained as a result of employment-related activities.
For example, let’s say you are injured in a tractor accident while working on a farm. Your employer has over $100,000 in payroll, so you are covered by the workers’ compensation system. Plus, using a tractor is an employment-related activity. This means you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for this injury. However, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, you may lose the right to workers’ compensation benefits.
You are typically not entitled to benefits if you are injured while on meal breaks, driving to or from work, or engaging in social activities that are not related to your work. Each case is unique though, so it’s best to have an attorney review your claim to determine whether or not you qualify for benefits.
Have you been injured while working in the agricultural industry? If so, contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let us review your case so we can determine the best way to recover compensation for your injuries. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.