Most of us, if not all, are aware that workers should be compensated for work-related injuries. However, very few of us are actually aware of when those laws were put in place and how it happened. The Texas Medical Association recently posted an article addressing the history of workers’ compensation laws.
The entire concept of compensating workers for injuries suffered while on the job and the fact that it should be done by the government originated in Europe. It did not spread to the United States until the beginning of the 20th century. In the state of Texas specifically, the first workers’ compensation law was put into effect in 1913. The trend grew very quickly, and today all 50 United States and the District of Columbia have Workers’ Compensation laws.
According to the article, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states could legally require employers to provide compensation to those workers who had been injured on the job. Because of this, many states went back and revised their current laws in order to incorporate mandatory Workers’ Compensation. Texas revised its law in 1917, only four years after its original creation. However, Texas chose to keep voluntary employer participation in its law. Currently, Texas is the only state with this as part of their Workers’ Compensation law. They allow employers to choose whether or not to provide compensation to injured workers. However, public employers, and employers who enter into a contract with a government entity must provide Workers’ Compensation.
The original (revised) 1917 Texas law was used as the basic framework for the state’s Workers’ Compensation system for the following 72 years. It wasn’t until 1989, after much controversy, that a new Texas Workers’ Compensation law was put into place and made effective in 1991. This newly revised law dealt with specific billing and reporting requirements for physicians treating injured workers. It also incorporated a new income benefit as well as administrative dispute systems. In 2001, Texas lawmakers passed House Bill 2600, which dramatically changed the actual delivery of health care to injured Texas workers.
Texas has gone through many measures to ensure that its injured workers are treated fairly and compensated when necessary. If you have found yourself injured while on the clock, you too may be eligible for compensation. Contact an experienced Texas personal injury attorney immediately to help you fight for compensation if it is due.