A terrible blight has struck Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but the devastation is not destroying the crops. Instead, children on farms are being killed at an alarming rate. Machinery is responsible for the deaths of these children, and grieving communities barely have time to cope with one death before the next occurs.
In the last 8 months, at least four children in this comparatively small geographic area have been killed by farm machinery, including:
- A November 14th, 2015 incident in West Earl Township, where a 19month-old girl was run over by a skid loader
- An incident on October 13th when a 3-year-old in Little Britain Township was run over by a tractor
- An accident on October 3rd, in Sadsbury Township, where a 5-year-old boy was killed by a skid loader
- A February 13th incident near Ephrata where a 9-year-old was killed when a feed cart overturned
Heavy machinery is a necessary part of farm life. Though almost any task can be completed entirely with manual labor, the productivity increases associated with advancements like tractors and skid loaders mean that practically all farmers make use of these wonderful inventions. Heavy machinery is also, unfortunately, dangerous. Skid loaders and tractors weigh thousands of pounds and generate thousands of pounds of force. Massive trauma is inflicted if one of these machines comes into unexpected contact with a person.
The vast majority of these types of accidents are, thankfully, preventable. Routine maintenance is exceptionally important for owners and operators of farm equipment. Sadly, many larger farms cut corners on maintenance to boost profits, increasing the likelihood of something going wrong. But even if maintenance is never deferred, some farm equipment suffers from defects in design or manufacture that leaves it unsafe. Problems are particularly common with brakes, leaving open the possibility of someone being run over by the machine if the brakes fail, as might have occurred in three of these incidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a farm accident, it is of profound importance that the safety of the machine be evaluated. If design defect, defect in manufacturing, or deferred maintenance caused the accident, it is likely more people will be injured or killed before the problem is addressed. Please contact an experienced attorney who can help you push for a proper investigation to take place.