It appears that the exclusive remedy provision for workers' compensation will no longer serve to prevent costly civil litigation.
Workers' Compensation origins can be traced to the late Middle Ages and Renaissance times in the Unholy Trinity of Defenses, the doctrine that first outlined that work-related injuries were compensable.
This doctrine began in Europe and made its way to America with the Industrial Revolution. There were so many restrictions with it that changes occurred and led to the doctrine of Contributory Negligence which outlines that employers are not at fault for work-related injuries.
This principle was established in the United States with the case Martin vs. The U.S. Railroad. In this case, faulty equipment caused the injuries, but the employee did not receive compensation, as it was deemed that inspection of equipment was part of his job duties.
Additionally, the case Farnwell vs. The Boston Worchester Railroad Company led to the "Fellow Servant Rule" where employees did not receive compensation if their injuries were in any way related to negligence from a co-worker.
For a while, in the United States, we had the Assumption of Risk Doctrine that held employers were not liable for injuries because employees knew of job hazards when they signed their work contracts. By agreeing to work, they assumed all risks. These...
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 firstname.lastname@example.org have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.