I know, we have all been told to be safe. We all understand how a fraction of a second can change your life forever, this is a very important consideration…have you considered another cost?
Statistics show that farm accidents increase during the rushed long days of the harvest season. Of course there is often property damage and that involves your farm insurance policy. Examples: driving into the machine shed with the combine forgetting to pull in the unloading auger or driving the truck away while the box is still up high in the air – can you say Hydro Lines?
At this time of year like other busy seasons more and more farms now have employees. One item of coverage that may be overlooked is called “Employers Legal Liability”. If you hire employees and do not have them registered with Workers Compensation you need to be aware that the “employee” can sue the “employer” for injuries sustained due to employer negligence. What does this mean? For example, let’s say you knew your tractor had a broken step. Your employee is injured and is unable to work as a result of injury caused by the broken step. The employee has the legal right to sue you for lost wages and for pain and suffering as a result of your negligence (not taking time to repair the step). The courts may at their discretion also charge you with punitive damages.
If you have Employers Legal Liability on your farm policy all you need to do is immediately notify your insurance company of this possible lawsuit. Of course anyone can sue for anything, whether it is warranted or not. Now in this example, however, you no longer need to worry about the legal fees, the court costs and possibly losing the farm. With lawsuits and courts you never know how they will turn out. Consider liability issues carefully. Your farm may be able to sustain an uninsured $20,000 loss (auger and machine shed). But what would happen if the courts decided you were negligent and ordered you to pay $200,000 or $2,000,000 to your injured employee?
What should you do? Talk to your Insurance Broker, a phone call can take care of this. Be prepared, your insurance broker will ask you 1) how many employees you typically hire and 2) what the annual payroll is? The Employers Legal Liability coverage is very important, especially when you consider what is at risk! Be Safe, Be Sure, INSURE!