Occupational Agricultural Illnesses and Injuries
It may come as a surprise to some, but agriculture is the single largest commercial industry in our state. In fact, 350,000 people are employed in various Maryland agriculture occupations, according to information provided by the Maryland State Archives. But what rights do agricultural workers have in Maryland when it comes to workers’ compensation? If you became sick from your work in the agricultural industry, or were injured on the job, you need to contact an experienced Anne Arundel County attorney at once.
Agriculture Workers are Usually Covered by Maryland Workers’ Compensation Laws
Agriculture is one of those industries that has certain exceptions to the rule that ‘all employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance.’ However, most Maryland agricultural workers are, in fact, covered, according to Maryland Labor and Employment Section 9-210, provided that the following is true:
- Their employer has at least three full-time employees; or
- Their employer has an annual payroll of $15,000 or more for full-time employees.
Are Migrant Workers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Sadly, those most prone to occupational injuries and illnesses are the very people whose rights are most often trampled upon by employers. However, if you are a migrant worker, you should know that you have workers’ compensation rights, provided that your employer meets either of the two criteria described above, and you perform work including:
- Operation of a machine that is in relation to an animal, soil management, or crop;
- Construction or repair of a fixture or machinery; or
- The handling of a crop or animal with or without a machine.
The exception to receiving workers’ compensation from an employer is if you are categorized as an independent contractor, instead of an employee. However, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation from the employer that you work for, but not the farmer. An independent contractor is described as a worker who meets all of the following criteria:
- Usually engages in an independent business in the same type of work. For example, the injured person owns or works for a fence repair company, repairs a farmer’s fence and is injured on the job. They would not be able to successfully claim workers’ compensation from that farmer;
- Is free from control and direction over their performance of the service they are providing;
- Provides their own tools, materials, and equipment; and
- Their Social Security, unemployment, state, or federal taxes are not withheld by the farmer or agricultural employer that they were performing work for.
Call Maryland Workers’Compensation Attorney Tara K. Frame Today
If you were hurt on the job working in the agriculture industry, you are likely owed workers’ compensation. This is true whether you threw out your back, had to miss days due to heat exhaustion or overexertion, developed an overuse injury, became sick from pesticide exposure, or lost a finger using farm machinery. We will help you recover the benefits that you are owed by your employer. Please reach out to our Pasadena workers’ compensation attorneys at the law offices of Frame & Frame today 410-255-0373.