NEWS Agricultural Vehicles Present Accident Problems – Personal Injury

Agricultural Vehicles Present Accident Problems - Personal Injury

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According to AgHealth Australia, 46 farm deaths were reported in Australia in 2021. While 128 non-fatal injuries on farms were reported in the media in 2021, the actual number of non-fatal injuries on farms is much higher.

Tractors and agricultural vehicles, such as quad bikes and side-by-sides, are the main types of vehicles causing casualties. Injuries that occur as a result of using agricultural vehicles can be serious and lifelong.

This can leave the injured person unable to work and requiring intensive treatment and assistance with daily activities.

An injured employee may be eligible to file a claim under the workers’ compensation program, but only if the injury was not related to the employee’s work. They may still be able to file a claim under the mandatory third-party scheme.

Claims under the CTP program involving injuries while using agricultural vehicles are not always straightforward. This is because agricultural vehicles can hold conditional registrations, such as primary producer registrations, which place restrictions on how agricultural vehicles can be used. Restrictions on such registration may include:

  1. Vehicles are to be used only at the direction of the primary producer and only for work on two or more nearby separate plots of land;

  2. Vehicles may only be driven on roads for agricultural use directly related to primary production;

  3. Vehicles must not travel faster than 40 kilometers per hour.

What happens if someone is injured while using a vehicle outside the conditions of its registration? For example, what if a conditionally registered agricultural vehicle is driven to a nearby farm or football club to participate in a social event, and an accident occurs and the passengers are injured? The short answer is that claims under the CTP program may be denied.

This would disenfranchise injured persons from claiming for lost income, medical and assistance costs. In these cases, although claims under the CTP program may be denied, victims may still file a claim under the farmer’s public liability insurance policy.

These types of claims are by no means straightforward and the injured person should obtain legal advice as early as possible. As the owner of an agricultural vehicle, you should be aware of the type of registration you hold for your vehicle and ensure that the vehicle in question is only used for the purposes permitted by the conditional registration.

This article was published in Stock Journal on December 8, 2022.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the topic. Expert advice should be sought depending on your specific situation.

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