The Evolution of Pennsylvania’s Workers Compensation Laws

A brief history of the laws put in place to help injured workers

They say that those who do not learn their history are doomed to repeat it. Nowhere is that more true than in the area of workers’ rights. The evolution of the worker in the 19th and 20th centuries demanded laws and regulations that could keep up with a changing world – and could help protect that same worker in case of a serious injury. At the law firm of Larry Pitt & Associates, we appreciate Pennsylvania’s great history and heritage, and what our wonderful Commonwealth has done to help keep modern workers safe, too.

Why workers deserved more

In Pennsylvania, with the rise of the industrial revolution, the need to protect workers was becoming clearer and more important. Workers were exposed to more dangers in the workplace that had not been seen before in terms of injury types and the amount of people injured. These issues led to the idea of workers’ compensation laws to protect employees, and promoted the idea of employers carrying workers’ compensation insurance.

What Pennsylvania did to help

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act was adopted on June 2, 1915. The law covers all workers statewide and provides lost wages for those employees hurt on the job. It also encouraged employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The law established the State Workers’ Insurance Fund (SWIF), a fund which guaranteed workers’ compensation insurance for all employers in Pennsylvania. In the early 1970s, workers’ compensation became mandatory for all employers and in the 1990s it allowed employers to self-insure if they so desired.

Changes to the law in recent history

On June 26, 1996 Governor Tom Ridge signed a new Pennsylvania workers’ compensation act known as Act 57 into law. This law restructured some of the provisions of the original Workers’ Compensation Act. It allowed employees to settle their cases in lump sum settlements and set rules on choosing a doctor for treatment. It also set temporary total disability limits and changed the way average weekly wages were determined. Many feel that instead of helping injured workers, the act actually hurt workers because of payment reductions and limits.

At Larry Pitt & Associates, we fight hard on behalf of injured workers so that they do not have to settle for less than they deserve. We know the Act inside and backwards, and we know how to help our clients recover the most compensation they possibly can.

Learn more about how we can help you

When it comes to the law, an informed client is usually a more satisfied client. At Larry Pitt & Associates, we want you to have access to all of the information you need. If you have any questions regarding our state’s workers’ comp laws, do not hesitate to call us at 888.PITT.LAW or use our contact form. We are proud to continue the Pennsylvania tradition of helping injured workers’ by offering multiple office locations for the convenience of our clients throughout Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.