Understanding the Role of Equipment Malfunction in Farming Accidents

By David Hammond

Agriculture is a big part of the economy here in Central New York, and many of us work on farms and around farming equipment. When this equipment is defective, it can break down suddenly and without warning, potentially leading to serious accidents. Knowing how and why these issues occur can help you understand your options as you seek compensation in the wake of an injury. 

What Types of Farming Equipment Can Cause Injuries?

Practically any kind of farming equipment can cause serious injuries if it breaks down suddenly while in use. Here are just a few ways that common types of agricultural machinery can malfunction:

  • Tractors can have brake failures, steering malfunctions, or hydraulic system issues, causing the operator to lose control and leading to rollovers or collisions. 
  • Combines, which are used to harvest crops, can suffer from malfunctioning cutting blades, jammed augers, or electrical failures, potentially causing entanglement or amputation injuries.
  • Balers, used to compress and package hay or straw, can have problems with their twine or wire-tying mechanisms. This can lead to jams or unexpected releases of compressed material that can strike workers. 
  • Augers, which transport grain or feed, can suffer from damaged or exposed flighting, creating entanglement hazards. 
  • Conveyor systems can suffer belt or chain malfunctions, causing sudden stops or starts that can catch workers off guard and lead to falls or crush injuries.
  • Pesticide sprayers and storage tanks can develop leaks or malfunctioning valves, leading to exposure to harmful chemicals. 
  • Malfunctioning power take-off (PTO) shafts, which transfer power from a tractor to an attached implement, can cause entanglement injuries if safety shields are missing or damaged.

What Are Some Common Injuries Farming Equipment Malfunctions?

Malfunctioning farming equipment can cause a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to life-altering or even fatal wounds. Some common injuries include:

These injuries can have a profound impact on an individual’s life, requiring extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term care.

Who Is Liable for Injuries Due to Malfunctioning Equipment?

Liability for injuries caused by malfunctioning farming equipment can fall on several parties, depending on the circumstances. 

  • The equipment manufacturer may be liable if the malfunction was due to a design defect, manufacturing flaw, or inadequate warnings. 
  • The seller or distributor of the equipment may also be responsible if they knowingly sold a defective product. 
  • The owner of the equipment or the farm itself may be liable if they failed to properly maintain the equipment or provide adequate training to workers.

What Is the Deadline to File a Lawsuit for Farming Equipment Injuries?

In New York, the deadline to file a lawsuit for injuries caused by malfunctioning farming equipment is generally three years from the accident date. Failing to file your claim within this timeframe can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. 

However, there are some exceptions to this timeline, such as: 

  • Cases involving minors
  • Situations where the injury was not immediately apparent
  • Accidents where a government entity was at fault

Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and ensure that you meet all necessary deadlines.

Contact CDH Law PLLC for Legal Representation Today

The process of seeking compensation after a farm equipment malfunction can be a difficult one, especially if you have to go up against powerful corporate interests. Insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying out claims, leaving injured individuals frustrated and disappointed. Fortunately, you do not have to pursue your claim alone. Instead, work with an experienced product liability attorney from CDH Law PLLC to more effectively pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation with a farm equipment injury lawyer in Syracuse, and let’s discuss your options together.

About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.