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writing policies to cover the liabilities prescribed by the laws, and is of no less interest to the employer who is primarily charged with these liabilities, and to the workman for whose benefit the laws were enacted.

The compensation States contain approximately 87 per cent of the persons gainfully employed in the United States and include practically all of the industrial States. There seems to have been no causal connection between the need for compensation laws and the sequence of their enactment. Of the 10 States enacting such laws in 1911, 3 were manufacturing States on the Atlantic coast, 4 were agricultural or semi-industrial States in the Mississippi Valley, and 3 were primarily agricultural or mining States west of the Rocky Mountains. The 7 noncompensation States are primarily agricultural, though in most of them manufacturing is of considerable and increasing importance.



Certain provisions of workmen's compensation laws are more susceptible of change and revision than others. The scope of the acts and the partial disability schedules, for example, have undergone relatively very little change since their initial enactment, while the waiting period and particularly the requirements as to medical service are in a constant state of flux. Compensation commissioners are not always familiar with the experience and results of compen- · sation laws in other States. This unfamiliarity, together with the human proneness to overvalue those things to which one has been accustomed, has led many of the commissions not only to prefer their own type of law but also to consider it superior to all others. These facts are of especial importance, therefore, to States having under consideration the adoption of a compensation law. The following summary shows some of the more important statutory changes which have occurred in the 40 States and Territories having had workmen's compensation experience. A large majority of these changes are of recent enactment.

Compensation and insurance systems.-There has been considerable dissatisfaction with the elective feature of compensation laws. A large proportion of employers in some of the States having such elective laws have refused to accept the compensation provisions, thus depriving their employees of the benefits of this legislation. Notwithstanding this fact, and also the fact that several compensation commissions have recommended a change from the elective to the compulsory system, only one of the elective compensation States

Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina. 6 The five States (Alabama, Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia) which enacted compensation laws in 1918 and 1919 have not been taken into account in the following analysis.

(Illinois) substituted the compulsory for the elective system. On the other hand, of the States in which employers were not required to insure, four changed to a compulsory insurance system. No State has established a State insurance fund which was not provided for in the original compensation act, nor has any State abolished such a State fund after its establishment.


Scope. The scope of the various acts, i. e., the employments covered, has on the whole remained quite stationary. None of the States which originally excluded agriculture and domestic service has later included such employments. New York is the only one of the original "hazardous" States which later included nonhazardous employments, although several States in whose laws only enumerated hazardous employments were covered have added a few minor employments to enumerated statutory lists. The more important additions during the past two years were cotton ginning in Texas and retail stores in Oklahoma by the repeal of the provisions exempting them. Four States subsequently included public employees after having made no provision therefor in the original acts. In one particular, however, the scope of the compensation acts has been considerably increased. Twenty States originally exempted employers having less than a stipulated number of employees. Of these, 5 States have reduced the number of employees and 3 States 10 have abolished the numerical exemption provision altogether. Many of the States originally exempted casual employments but there is a tendency to abolish this exemption.



Waiting period. The waiting period has been changed in 22 States, 3 11 of which have made two or more successive changes. Of these, 20 States 12 reduced the waiting period; 1 State 13 first increased its waiting period from 1 week to 2 weeks and then reduced it again to 1 week; and 1 State 11 increased the period from 14 days to 7 days. In addition a number of States have abolished the waiting period entirely in certain cases. Of these, 10 States 15 abolished the waiting period if the disability exceeds stated periods, while 1 State 16 aboiished the waiting time in partial disability injuries.

7 California, Illinois, Nebraska, and New Jersey.

8 Oregon, Porto Rico, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

9 Kentucky, Porto Rico, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

10 Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming.

11 California, Colorado, and Connecticut.

12 From 2 weeks to 1 week: Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Vermont; from 2 weeks to 10 days: Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota; from 3 weeks to 10 days: Colorado; from 10 days to 3 days: Utah; from 3 weeks to 2 weeks: New Mexico.

13 California.

14 Washington.

15 Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming.

10 Hawaii.

Compensation scale. Some of the factors entering into the compensation scale have remained quite rigid, while others have been relatively more susceptible of change. In practically all of the States the compensation payments are based upon the wages of the injured employee, ranging generally from 50 to 663 per cent. Fourteen States 17 have materially increased their original percentages. Twenty-four States 18 increased their weekly or monthly maximum compensation limits. Twelve States also increased the period during which compensation shall be paid. Of these, 519 increased the period in case of death; 8 20 in case of total disability, and 521 in case of partial disability. However, probably the most inelastic factor of the compensation scale is the schedule for permanent partial disability. Of the States having such schedules only 622 have materially increased the compensation periods or amounts; while 323 have slightly increased the amounts in individual cases. Two States 24 have materially enlarged the list of injuries in the schedule without increasing the compensation periods, while 125 has provided for a new schedule. In addition, Texas increased its schedule substantially both as to list of injuries and as to compensation periods, but it also amended its law by making such compensation in lieu of all other payments, whereas formerly such payments were in addition to all other compensation.

Medical service. The provisions as to medical service have undergone greater change than any other feature of the workmen's compensation laws. Thirty-two States 26 have increased the medical service originally provided, either as to maximum amounts or length of time during which such medical serice is to be furnished. In three of these States 27 the maximum limit has been abolished entirely and employers must provide medical attendance as long as reasonably necessary. Most of these increases were provided in recent years. State legislatures and compensation commissions seem at last to realize the fact that adequate medical and hospital

17 From 50 to 663 per cent: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New Jersey; from 50 to 60 per cent: Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania; from 50 to 55 per cent: Louisiana and South Dakota; from 55 to 60 per cent: Utah; from 50 to 65 in certain cases: Illinois.

18 Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

19 Delaware, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, and Ohio.

20 Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

21 Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Nevada.

22 Indiana, Nebraska, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

23 Iowa, Nevada, and South Dakota.

24 Hawaii and Nebraska.

25 Kansas.

26 California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Porto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

27 California, Connecticut, and Porto Rico.

service is absolutely essential for the complete economic rehabilitation of injured workmen. There is also a tendency toward closer State supervision over the quality of the medical service furnished by employers. A number of States recently authorized compensation commissions to approve or supervise hospitals and benefit funds maintained either by employers themselves or under contract, and to order change of physicians if necessary. There is also a trend toward allowing the injured employee to select his own physician. In 1917, for the first time in the history of the compensation legislation in this country, employees were specifically given the right by law to choose the physician when the cost of the medical service is paid by the employer.

Administrative system.-Nebraska and New Jersey are the only States which have materially changed their system of administration since 1913, a compensation commission replacing the former method of administration by the courts. The original compensation laws of Illinois and Nevada, enacted in 1911, also, did not provide for administrative systems, but both States created administrative commissions in 1913. In addition Massachusetts and New York have abolished the arbitration committee system.

Sectional variations.-A review of the workmen's compensation laws of the several States brings out three significant facts. One is the absence of these laws in most of the Southern States; 28 another is the refusal of most States to be guided by the experience of other States; and the third is the inclination of the far Western States to strike out along new lines, as shown by the following facts: The only States 29 which have established exclusive State insurance systems are in the far West. Also, the only States 30 which have established pension systems, the amounts presumably based upon the need of the workman or his dependents rather than upon loss of earning power, are in the far West. Washington is the only State providing for the administration of medical service through local medical aid boards patterned after the German system. The only laws which provide for the maintenance of contract hospitals to which the employee is required to contribute his proportionate share have been enacted by far Western States.31 And of the four States 32 in which the administrative commissions are authorized to formulate and have formulated elaborate schedules for permanent partial disabilities based as far as possible upon the actual loss of earning power, three are in the far West.

28 North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, and the District of Columbia have not yet enacted workmen's compensation laws.

29 Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. (Porto Rico also has an exclusive State insurance fund.) 30 Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

31 Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington.

32 California, North Dakota, Washington, and West Virginia.

One regrettable fact in connection with the enactment of workmen's compensation legislation, as already noted, is the disinclination of most States to be guided by the experience developed under the laws of other States. The type of law, including scope, compensation scale, administrative system, etc., usually adopted by a State is determined generally by two factors-contiguity and the economic and political progressiveness of the State. An examination of the laws of the 10 States enacting compensation laws since 1916 shows that these two factors were most influential in determining the type of law enacted. The far Western States especially have been inclined to pattern their laws after those adopted by contiguous States, due in part to the fact that, owing to the great distances, investigating commissions and others responsible for the enactment of the laws have found it inexpedient to acquaint themselves with the experience of the Eastern States by personal investigations. Eventually, no doubt, all of the States will adopt those compensation laws which shall have been empirically proved to be the best, but apparently it is necessary for each State to attain this through experience alone.


Compensation laws may be classified as compulsory, elective (optional), or voluntary, depending upon the degree of constraint to which employers are subjected to accept the compensation provisions. Since these terms will be used repeatedly it may be advisable to define them. A compulsory law is one which requires every employer within the scope of the compensation law to accept the act and pay the compensations specified. There is no choice. Usually, but not always, the employee also must accept the provisions of the act. In Arizona, for example, the law is compulsory as applied to the employer, but the employee, after an injury, has the option of accepting compensation or suing for damages.

An elective act is one in which the employer has the option of either accepting or rejecting the act, but, in case he rejects, the customary common-law defenses are usually abrogated. In other words, the employer is penalized if he does not elect. The employee also has the right to accept or reject the act.

None of the compensation laws covers all employments. Usually agriculture, domestic service, employments casual in nature or not conducted for the purpose of the employer's business, and in some laws nonhazardous employments, are exempted from the provisions of the act. In some States such employments, however, may come under the provisions of the law through the voluntary acceptance of the employer or the joint election of employer and employee in these exempted classes, but the employer loses no rights or defenses

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