Workers’ compensation law came into existence in the late 19th century and early 20th century in response to the growing number of workplace injuries and fatalities that occurred during the Industrial Revolution. Prior to the implementation of workers’ compensation laws, injured workers were often left without any means of financial support or recourse against their employers.
In the United States, Wisconsin became the first state to successfully establish workers’ compensation laws, and then other states followed. These laws required employers to provide medical treatment and wage replacement to workers who were injured on the job, regardless of who was at fault for the injury.
The implementation of workers’ compensation laws helped to shift the burden of workplace injuries from the injured worker to the employer. By providing a no-fault system of compensation, workers were able to receive support and care without having to go through the lengthy and expensive process of litigation.
Over time, workers’ compensation laws have evolved to cover a wider range of injuries and occupational illnesses, and to provide more comprehensive benefits to injured workers. Today, workers’ compensation is mandatory in most states and is designed to provide a safety net for workers who are injured or become ill as a result of their work.