History of Workers Compensation

Representing Orlando, the Four Corners, Tampa and Nearby Areas of Florida

Workers compensation is designed to compensate employees who are injured on the job, for services rendered due to a sickness or illness.

The need for a fair workers compensation systemdeveloped out of the industrial revolution. This era brought about:

  • An increased use of machinery
  • New concepts of producing goods
  • Pressure of increased demand for products

These factors led to an increased number of injuries in the workplace. And, since there were no solutions for injured employees or employers, workers would often have no choice but to engage in time-consuming and expensive legal battles. But courtrooms were overcrowded, workers faced long delays, and the outcome of their suit did not guarantee compensation. Therefore, many injured employees were forced to bear the cost of their injury. Some had no choice but to go on welfare.

A Modern Solution

The modern day system of workers compensation originated in Europe in the 1800s. Germany was first to enact a law in 1838 to protect railroad employees and passengers if accidents occurred. In England, “workingmen’s” compensation was born when the English Parliament passed the “Employer’s Liability Act.” By the turn of the century, the concept of workers compensation legislation spread to Canada and the United States.

Workers compensation laws were enacted to provide injured employees with benefits that were:

  • Prompt
  • Fair
  • Guaranteed

Workers injured on the job received money for medical care and disability, regardless of who was at fault. In return, employers were protected from potentially disastrous losses by a stated amount of specific benefits for any injuries their employees suffered. The worker was prohibited from filing a lawsuit against his or her employer, while employers are required to pay the stated amount of benefits.

Floridas legislation

Because of the historically small work force in the Sunshine State, Florida moved slowly in enacting workers’ compensation legislation. Until the Great Depression, there were virtually no manufacturing companies, and those that were in place reported no major problems.

After the states aggressive campaign to attract workers and jobs to the warmer, more economical climate, employment numbers began to pick up. In July of 1935, Florida passed a “workmen’s” compensation law. The new act also created a Florida Industrial Commission which began operating the same year.

The first year workers compensation was enacted, Florida saw 10,977 cases. Of these, 2,983 were reported in Dade County and 1,985 were reported in Duval County. Benefits paid totaled more than $290,000.

Two years later, the Florida Industrial Commission handled over 40,000 cases, providing benefits of nearly a billion dollars to injured employees.

The law in Florida has changed and developed over the years. At the Orlando personal injury firm of Colling, Gilbert, Wright & Carter, we know the law inside and out and are dedicated to winning you the benefits you deserve for your injury. If you have been hurt while working in Florida, please schedule a consultation about your workers’ compensation claim today.