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The History of Workers' Compensation

The History of Workers' Compensation

While workers compensation seems to be a system which is mostly ironed out by now, this has been due to dedicated professionals more than time. In the course of human history, most things that we relate to work are relatively new and the idea of workers compensation is certainly one of the more recent developments. Although we may think of workers being protected from harm today as common sense, it certainly was not always a priority of employers to keep their employees safe. Tragedies like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, which killed 145 people and injured over seventy more pioneered reform of work conditions and helped to change the situations regarding compensation for those injured at work in America.

The first time we see modern recorded history of an employee requesting compensation for injuries sustained while working come to us from England in 1837. The employee, reportedly a 19 year old male, was making a delivery when the company van malfunctioned and he was “thrown with violence to the ground, and his thigh was thereby fractured”. It has also been reported that his shoulder was dislocated in the chaos. While the courts originally ruled in his favor, this was appealed and overturned in the same year. This case, Priestley v Fowler, is widely regarded as the first workers compensation case ever recorded.

Another sixty years would pass before the “Workmen’s Compensation Act” would be introduced in Great Britain. This is the first time we see a set of laws that regard injuries that occur on the job as “no fault”, meaning that compensation is to be paid out regardless of who is at fault if an accident occurs. Unfortunately, America was slower to adopt such laws. Although some states had been attempting to push regulations through as early as 1898, the first real instance of workers compensation in the US was revealed in 1908 by President Taft for those working on the interstate. It took until 1948 for every state to pass their own laws for workers compensation.

While we now have a fairly rigid set of laws which we follow in regards to work injuries, it hasn’t always been this way. By understanding how the system has changed over the years, we are better able to help you receive all of the help you deserve. Give us a call and see how we can serve you.

What is Workers Compensation?

What is Workers Compensation?

We hear the term “Worker’s Compensation” almost every day. Sometimes we hear it in different forms, such as “Worker’s Comp” or “Work Man’s Comp”, but they do all mean the same general thing. Workers Compensation is a system or insurance policy where an employer must pay (or arrange to have paid) any lost wages and/or medical expenses that may result from an employee who sustains an injury that occurs on the job.

The point of Workers Compensation is to get the employee back to work in a timely manner while also appropriately treating the result of injury. While each state is different in regards to the laws surrounding Workers Compensation, there are certain things that are fairly universal when it comes to how workers compensation cases are handled. For example, in most cases an employee is fully entitled to some form of compensation in return for either an occupational disease or a personal related injury which arises accidentally while in the course of employment. This compensation can take multiple forms, including cash payouts, benefits in regards to medical care, and other wage loss help. In the case of accidental death, workers compensation can also help give money to beneficiaries and/or dependents. This can help to cover end of life expenses and other bills which may occur while your loved ones are grieving.

One thing which you may be happy to hear is that workers compensation is generally a “no fault” system. This means that it doesn’t much matter if the injury was your fault or the fault of your employer. While naturally there are some exceptions, the area upon which the blame would be placed in other forms of litigation is not often brought up. This is quite different from other injury procedures, such as a car accident. While some people may not agree with this no blame system, it is in place to protect the victim and therefore is extremely beneficial to you.

If you believe that you should be receiving workers compensation or have recently been injured in the course of your work, contact us here at Collier Law. Your first consultation is free and we will do everything within our power to get you the compensation you deserve. We know how stressful this time is and promise to be there with you every step of the way.