As a worker on a family-owned farm, can I get workers’ compensation if I’m hurt on the job?

Getting workers' comp after injury on family-owned farms in OHEvery employer in Ohio must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This includes small farms and orchards with only a few seasonal employees—even if those employees are family members.

If you're hurt on the job, and your employer has the required insurance, you'll file a claim with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).

What If My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Small farms rarely turn much of a profit, and survival is often a matter of cutting costs to the bone. If the farm owner where you work hasn't paid into the state fund to save money, they'll be fined—and more—by the BWC.

However, this won't affect your ability to collect the compensation you're entitled to receive from the BWC. The BWC has funds set aside just for this purpose. That your employer doesn't have workers’ comp also opens the door for you to sue them if your injury was caused by faulty equipment or other negligence.

What If I’m Told to File With My Health Insurance?

If you have health insurance, your uninsured employer might suggest you get medical treatment through that policy. This is a problem.  

Under Ohio law, on-the-job injuries must be compensated through workers’ comp, not health insurance. To cover treatment by health insurance, you would have to lie to your doctor about the cause of your injury, and then you and your employer would be breaking the law. You could also lose your health insurance.

Farms With No Employees

For farms, the only exceptions to the workers’ compensation requirement in Ohio are sole proprietors, partnerships, or family-farm corporate officers with no employees. So, for example, if you own a small commercial farm but only you and your spouse do the work, you're not required to carry workers’ comp insurance.

However, if one of you is injured, your health insurance company could deny your claim because the injury was work-related. With no insurance coverage, one serious injury could be enough to bankrupt the farm. For this reason, it's a good idea for even owner-operated farms to carry elective workers’ comp insurance.

If You're Getting the Runaround, Call Us!

If you're hurt while working on a farm and your injuries are serious enough to require medical treatment and keep you away from work for an extended period, you're entitled to file a workers’ comp claim under Ohio law.

If your employer is trying to persuade you not to file, we suggest you talk to a workers’ comp attorney. You should have comprehensive medical treatment and lost wages, which you will get no other way. The team at Monast Law Office will help protect your rights and ensure you get the care you need after an injury at work. Call us or fill out the form on this page today. 

 

James Monast
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Fighting for Ohio’s Injured Workers and their Families