The history and purpose of workers’ compensation
“The odds favored the employers in defeating any action brought by an injured employee or the employee’s survivors.”
– Nancy Bonuomo
Today we take workers’ compensation for granted.
A statutory presumption holds that employees are compensated for on-the-job illness and injury – not no-questions-asked by any means, but something close to that, at least compared to how it was.
At the time of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries – the age of mechanization and the steam engine – employees worked long hours in dangerous conditions. (Many still do.) Many suffered catastrophic, life-changing injuries, like amputation. Yet there was no comparable workers’ comp system in place to compensate workers, who risked serious injuries or death in their occupations. A seriously injured factory or railroad worker, for example, couldn’t turn to a workers’ comp system for financial recourse.
And there wasn’t such a system in the U.S. until 1911.
That’s when Wisconsin became the first state to enact bona fide workers’ comp law. Connecticut followed Wisconsin just two years later. As the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Nancy Bonuomo writes in her piece on 100 years of workers’ compensation, 2013 was the 100-year anniversary of Connecticut’s first workers’ comp law. By the close of the Second World War, nearly all states had some form of workers’ comp on the books.
Employers and employees alike now had a predictable and efficient way of dealing with the inevitable accident or mishap.
The lawyers of Cousins, Desrosiers & Morizio, P.C. represent injured workers throughout Connecticut. If you’ve been hurt at work, call 866-225-9496.