Los Angeles Lawyers Discuss The History of “Workmans Comp” Laws

Workmans Comp vs. Workers Comp:

Our Workers Compensation attorneys are often asked if it is more proper to say “Workmans Compensation” or “Workers’ Compensation”. This article discusses the history of Workers’ Comp laws – and how the terminology has evolved over time.

Origin of “Workmens Compensation” & “Workmens Comp” Lawyers Los Angeles

In the 1850s lawyers in England (“barristers and solicitors”) introduced a new concept – holding employers liable for workers’ injuries. By 1867 an “Employers Liability Act” was passed granting limited compensation for injured workers. By 1880 an expanded law was passed called the “Workmen’s Compensation Act”

Of course, the workforce was almost exclusively comprised of men in that time period – so the term “workmen” was used to title the law.

First US “Workmens Comp” Law in 1908 Lawyers Los Angeles

The first “workmen’s” compensation law was passed in the United States in 1908. It was the Federal Employer’s Liability act, put into law at the urging President Theodore Roosevelt. It protected only Federal Government employees.

Still in an era where men comprised the vast majority of “breadwinners”, Roosevelt excitedly pointed out to Congress that when “the burden of an accident fell upon the helpless man, his wife and children” it was “an outrage”.

By 1911 Ten States Have “Workmens Comp” Laws Lawyers Los Angeles

In 1911 Wisconsin was the first state to adopt a “workmen’s” compensation law. Nine states followed with similar laws that same year.

Of course, at the turn of the century, women were not a major part of the labor force – ands so all ten laws were labeled “Workmens Compensation” laws.

“Workmens Comp” Becomes Known as “Workmans Comp” Lawyers Los Angeles

Of course, most Americans only heard about these new laws – most did not have the opportunity to read the actual legislation. So, “Workmens Compensation” quickly became known by the shorter term Workmans Comp to employees everywhere.

Even to this day may people still casually use the term “Workmans Comp” even when referring to a Working woman’s case. Old habits are always hard to break!

1970s – “Workers Comp” Replaces “Workmens Comp” Lawyers Los Angeles

It is hard to believe that the term “Workmens Compensation” was not widely replaced by “Workers Compensation” in the titles of laws and legislation until well into the 1970s! Although women had gradually been entering the workforce since World War II – it took three more decades for the laws to catch up.

Eventually Workmens Compensation Laws across the country were replaced with the more inclusively correct term “Workers Compensation Law”.

We Are Los Angeles “Workmans Comp” and “Working Woman’s” Comp Lawyers!

No matter what you call it – Workers Comp, Workmens Comp or Workmans Comp – it is an important part of our labor history in the United States. And it is vital to the many hard working men and woman who were injured in the course of their employment!

If you are suffering from a work related injury or illness, call us. We will offer you a free consultation to discuss your Workers Compensation options with an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your rights and obtain the maximum compensation for which you qualify.