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July 7, 2021

IS A TRACTOR ACCIDENT COMMERCIAL OR PERSONAL?

It’s summer and that means there will be lots more tractors and farm equipment on eastern North Carolina roadways. Did you know if you are involved in an accident with a tractor and were injured, there could be multiple factors at stake when it comes to your claim?

Right from the beginning of the crash, what will need to be determined is whether the vehicle was personal or business? This will be a key point for the insurance company negotiators — and as an injured person, it could also be very important for you.

The foundation of your case is based on liability. And the term “liability” means a claim you can make against the assets of another party. In other words, liability is what the person who injured you would owe you, and this would be decided and enforced by the court. The amount will vary depending on the details of your case.

Other than the court system, the other profession that deals with liability is insurance and insurance adjusters. Insurers sell a product to consumers and promise to pay when their clients encounter certain liabilities or losses.

When it comes to a farm equipment accident, you may be able to see that there could be complications and complexities. A farmer may have a choice to take out a personal or commercial vehicle insurance policy for a towing vehicle, like a pickup truck and those policies could have very different levels of coverage.

There could also be other factors, such as who is liable for your injuries, that may affect your claim. An example of this is whether or not there was faulty farm equipment, negligent refurbishment services or low-quality tires – and do any of these manufacturers or shops have some degree of fault.

These types of things will typically fall on you, the injured person, to track down everyone involved in your accident. This is why if you are injured in a farm vehicle accident, depending on the situation, you should immediately seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. Give Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP a call at 252-378-2525 for a free consultation with one of our trusted attorneys.

March 4, 2021

SEVERAL WAYS FARM EQUIPMENT IS BEING MADE SAFER

You may not hear about accidents that involve farm equipment, but just about every day in North Carolina they are happening on farms throughout the state. Simply by the nature of the work, farming can be a dangerous profession. If you grew up in the farming industry you probably learned how to do the job. However, sometimes, what you learned may not have come with as much safety training as is really needed to prevent accidents when you working with large and dangerous farming equipment. Preventing accidents requires more safety training, but also, improvements to safety features on the equipment could help.

 

An article in Modern Farmer notes that there are changes that can be made to equipment that could make them safer, and those changes would help prevent farming accidents.

 

Monitoring technology to equipment can be quite helpful, especially if a tractor rolls over, because getting help while you are out working can be difficult. Some of the same technology being used to make vehicles safer on the road can go into farm equipment. However, there is a need for specialized safety features made just for farm equipment because you have different concerns on the farm than you do on the road. If you have some type of monitoring or automatic system that sends a distress signal in the event of a roll over, it could save your life.

 

There are experimental autonomous tractors being tested right now that could really change farming. This is still in the early stages, but this technology would be huge in accident prevention. So as you can see, vehicle technology can be just as useful on the farm as it is on highways.

 

Finally, remote operation systems can be a wonderful tool. They could include kill switches that allow you to respond to an incident immediately no matter where you are in location to the accident scene.

 

Hardee, Massey and Blodgett provided this blog simply for education purposes. This is not legal advice, but if you’d like the advice of an injury attorney after a farm accident, contact us for a free case evaluation at 252-378-2525.

February 18, 2021

DRIVING FARM EQUIPMENT ON ROADWAYS

Many people groan when they see farm equipment entering the roadway or driving down the road, but farmers need to use the public roadways to travel from field to field or from their farm to their field. It is the only way for them to get their equipment to the place it is needed, and according to Connect NCDOT, they have legal rights allowing them to use any state roadway just like other drivers.

According to Connect NCDOT, you have the legal right to use any state road.

 

WHAT ARE THE EXCEPTIONS?

Farmers can only use interstates or freeways that have approval by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. When farmers and their equipment are on these types of roadways, they must have an escort vehicle driving behind then with working flashing lights.

Approval of roads are received if department believes it will be safe for other motorists and for farmers based on the speed they will be driving and the oversized nature of the equipment. You can find an  approved route list on the NCDOT website.

If farmers and farm equipment drive on an unauthorized road, they can face misdemeanor or other traffic charges. They can also be liable for any issues caused such as damage to other vehicles and property, as well as injuries to individuals.

 

WHAT ARE THE RULES?

Agricultural workers must follow all the rules of the road and drive safely at all times. They should try to arrange their travel schedules on busier roads during nonpeak times, and make sure there is a clear route to travel. They should also ensure all roads they are traveling are either state roads or authorized roads and that they are using warning signs and lighting, plus avoiding travel in adverse weather conditions.

 

If you have been injured in an accident involving farm equipment, contact our experienced attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett. We will be happy to provide you with a free case evaluation and help you decide if you have a claim. Call us today.

January 22, 2021

FARM EQUIPMENT ACCIDENT RISKS

There are over two million full-time agricultural workers in the United States alone. Working in the agricultural industry in North Carolina means you are taking on some amount of risk. Often, farm workers are at a high risk of serious or fatal injury working on and around equipment.

In addition, individuals who live on the farm, such as family, can also experience some of risk. Farming is one of a few other industries where non-workers are also at risk of injury. Why is this? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) better explains who may be at risk of farm injuries.

Understanding who is at risk also means you must understand that any individual who works around farm equipment or lives on property around farm equipment could be at risk. This goes for both youth and adult workers on the farms. Roughly 900,000 youth workers, under age 20, reside or work on farms, with approximately 454,000 of the youths performing work.

For every 100,000 farm workers, about 21 of them suffer a fatal injury while at work, which does not include fatalities. Roughly 100 workers suffer an injury that take them out of work every day with about 4,000 youths suffering injuries work on the farm.

The most dangerous and leading cause of death on the farm are transportation accidents, such as overturned tractors. Tractors and drivers without a rollover protective structure or seatbelts are more likely to suffer injuries, and unfortunately only a little over half of all tractors in the United States utilize this equipment.

This article is meant to inform readers on farming equipment hazards; it is not to be interpreted as legal advice to the reader.