A good many of us take things for granted sometimes, not realizing good intentions and tireless efforts that go into making many things in modern life possible.
If you’ve been injured on-the-job in Colorado, hopefully you were able to recover quickly and return to your job with no problems – you received the care and benefits you needed. In essence, the workers’ compensation system worked for you.
Even if you had some hurdles to cross, much of it was made short work of by a good Colorado on-the-job injury attorney. You ultimately won out and were able to move on with your life.
But what did workers do before the inception of Colorado Workers’ Compensation laws?
Early cases in the U.S. concerning employer liability for on-the-job injuries (1840’s) were scarce and rarely resulted in an employer having to compensate an employee for those injuries. The basic judicial philosophy was that an employee “…should be grateful for the opportunity for gainful employment” according to R. Epstein in the University of Georgia Law Review.
Workers’ compensation laws didn’t begin in the U.S. – Germany is credited with creating the first system to compensate injured workers in 1884. In 1897, England adopted a comprehensive formula for “personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment.” Many other nations across Europe adopted some form of workers’ compensation between 1884 and 1903.
At the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. was the only industrialized nation without a system to compensate injured workers but by 1911, 11 states had enacted such laws.
These laws marked what Colorado scholar J. Clayman dubbed “the first great venture into social security by the people of America.”
Employees were given assurances they would receive disability payments for lost wages and immediate medical treatment paid by their employers but disability payments were to be limited to a percentage of the employee’s wages to encourage a quick return to work.
In exchange for limited workers’ compensation benefits, employers relinquished common law defenses like contributory negligence, assumption of risk and common employment. Early cases in the U.S. concerning employer liability for on-the-job injuries (1840’s) rarely resulted in an employee being compensated for those injuries.
Don’t ever feel your employer isn’t responsible for workplace accidents…if you’ve been injured on-the-job in Colorado and are having difficulty obtaining your benefits, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney near Denver who doesn’t take the laws for granted and tirelessly works to obtain the benefits you’re entitled to.