Historical Perspective on Workers’ Comp Law in Georgia and the Recent Efforts to Erode Georgia Injured Worker Benefits

By: Zack Hendon | Posted on: December 8, 2015 9:00 am

The History

Workers’ compensation came into being because of the increase in industrial accidents which occurred in the early 1900’s with increased industrialization. This presented problems for both injured employees and employers.

The seriously injured worker could not feed his family because he could not work. He could bring a negligence action but obtaining a judgment could take years. Also the injured worker would be subject to common law defenses which would many times defeat the action such as contributory negligence and assumption of risk. The employers liked these defenses but did not like negligence actions that were successful because the damages were potentially unlimited.

In 1920, Georgia adopted a workers’ compensation system which provided for income benefits and medical benefits. The employers gave up the right to assert common law defenses. The employees gave up the right to sue their employer in tort and allow workers’ comp to be their exclusive remedy.

The Attack on Workers’ Comp

Our workers’ comp system has come under attack over the last few years. The business community continues to pressure our legislature to reduce or limit workers’ compensation income benefits or medical benefits. If the business community would like to continue to enjoy the benefits of the workers’ comp system, they should focus on increasing safety and not limiting the few rights that injured workers currently have.

If you or a loved one have any questions about what your rights are as an injured worker in the state of Georgia, call the Hendon Law Firm to discuss the details of your case.