Workers’ compensation laws were enacted in the United States during the early 20th century as a response to the growing industrialization and the increasing number of workplace injuries. The first comprehensive workers’ compensation law in the country was enacted in Wisconsin in 1911. This law served as a model for other states, and by 1949, every state had some form of workers’ compensation legislation in place.
Prior to enactment of this no-fault system, injured workers had to prove negligence on the part of the employer in order to receive any remedy for a workplace injury. Employees also had no recourse if their employer could prove the employee’s negligence contributed to an injury.
Now, our stat-based workers’ compensation system provides no-fault compensation and medical care for an injured employee while ensuring an employer cannot be subject to a civil lawsuit by the employee. Moreover, this system protects employees from arguments that they may have contributed to their injury through their own negligence.
To uphold the integrity of this no-fault system, however, there must be proof that an injury or disease is job-related. Forcing employers to pay for injuries or diseases without such proof that they were caused by or contracted in the workplace violates the core principles of the no-fault workers’ compensation system.
APCIA will continue to work in communities across the country to preserve the no-fault workers’ compensation system that ensures high-quality care for injured workers, encourages employees to return to work, streamlines disputes, and controls costs for employers and our court system.