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Injured on a farm? Here are 3 things you need to do

Agricultural work is one of the most important jobs in America. Without farm workers, none of us would be able to get the food we need to survive.

Sadly though, farm workers aren't always treated with the respect they deserve. Agriculture work remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. People who work on farms are more likely than average to get killed or injured on the job.

What should you do if this happens to you or someone you love?

Say something. Workers' compensation is your right.

California law requires employers to provide workers' compensation insurance for their employees. This will provide coverage for things like medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.

In order to get workers' comp, you have to report the injury to your employer. Do not be afraid. Your employer is not allowed to punish you or fire you for getting hurt, and you can get benefits even if the accident was your fault.

You can get workers' compensation even if you are undocumented. Workers' comp and immigration are separate systems.

Go to the doctor. You need treatment to get better.

Workers' comp will pay your medical bills. In an emergency, call 911 and go to the doctor as soon as possible. Tell them the injury happened at work.

For non-emergencies, report the injury to your employer first. The insurance company will then authorize medical treatment within 24 hours.

Follow through with your treatment plan, and keep getting care until your doctor tells you that you can stop.

Call a lawyer. You don't need to do this alone.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they don't need a lawyer, because the insurance company will be on their side. This isn't true. The insurance company will have lawyers working to make sure they pay you as little as possible. That's how they make money.

It is common for injured workers to find that their benefits get cut off before they have recovered, or that they are being pressured to accept less than they deserve. If this is happening to you, call a lawyer to get help.

Don't worry about whether you can afford to pay an attorney. In workers' comp cases, most lawyers work on something called a "contingency fee." This means that you don't have to pay them unless they recover money for you.

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