Employers' Liability Laws
( Originally Published 1918 )
Employer's Liability for Injuries.—An employer is legally bound to take all reasonable pre-caution to secure the safety of his employees acting in the course of their duties. He must caution them against risks or dangers that are not in themselves apparent to them. If he uses due diligence in the selection of competent and trusty employees and furnishes them with proper means to perform the service in which he employs them, he is not liable to one of them for an injury resulting from the carelessness of another while both are engaged in the same service, but if the injury is the result of failure to provide suitable means to perform the service or to use reason-able care in the selection of the fellow employee, the employer will be liable.
General Law of Liability for Accidents.—In most of the states the responsibility of the employer for the safety of the workmen in his em-ploy is not statutory, but is determined by the general law of negligence, under which if the employer can show contributory negligence on the part of the injured employee he is exempt from liability in a damage suit, and is not liable for injuries arising, without fault on his part, as the result of the negligence of a "fellow servant," or person employed with him in the same work and having the same general authority.
Farm Laborers do not come under the provisions of the compensation and insurance laws, and farm owners, under the special statutes of the states, are not liable for injuries caused while such farm hands are about their work.
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
The Federal Workmen's Compensation Act, approved September 7, 1916, provides that compensation shall be paid by the government for death or disability of employees of the United States resulting from a personal injury sustained while in the performance of duty, at the following rates:
Death Compensation.—N. B. No compensation shall be paid where the death takes place more than one year after the cessation of disability, or if there has been no disability preceding death, more than one year after the injury, or if death does not result within six years.
(A) To the widow, if there is no child, thirty five per centum, until her death or marriage.
(B) To the widower (until his death or marriage), if there is no child, thirty five per centum if wholly dependent for support upon the deceased employee at the time of her death.
(C) To the widow or widower, if there is a child, the compensation payable under clause (A) or clause (B), and in addition thereto ten per centum for each child, not to exceed a total of sixty six and two thirds per centum for such widow or widower and children. If a child has a guardian other than the surviving widow or widower, the compensation payable on account of such child shall be paid to such guardian. The compensation payable on account of any child shall cease when he dies, marries, or reaches the age of eighteen, or, if over eighteen, and incapable of self-support, becomes capable of self-support.
(D) To the children, if there is no widow or widower, twenty five per centum for one child and ten per centum additional for each additional child, not to exceed a total of sixty six and two thirds per centum, divided among such children share and share alike.
(E) To the parents where one is wholly de-pendent and the other is not to any extent, twenty five per centum; if both are wholly dependent, twenty per centum each ; if one is or both are partly dependent, a proportionate amount.
(F) To the brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, if one is wholly dependent, twenty per centum to such dependent; if more than one are wholly dependent, thirty per centum; if none is wholly dependent, but one or more partly dependent, ten per centum divided among such dependents share and share alike.
The above percentages shall be paid if there is no widow, widower, child, or dependent parent. If there is a widow, widower, child, or dependent parent, there shall be paid so much of the above percentages, as, when added to the total percentage payable to the widow, widower, children, and dependent parents, will not exceed a total of sixty six and two thirds per centum.
(G) The compensation of each beneficiary under clauses (E) and (F) shall be paid for eight years from time of death, unless before that time he, if a parent or grandparent, dies, marries, or ceases to be dependent, or, if a brother, sister, or grandchild, dies, marries, or reaches the age of eighteen, or, if over eighteen and incapable of self-support, becomes capable of self-support. The compensation of a brother, sister, or grand-child under legal age shall be paid to his or her guardian.
In Computing the Death Compensation the monthly pay shall not be considered more than $100 nor less than $50.
Total Disability.—A monthly compensation equal to sixty six and two thirds per centum of monthly pay, provided that it shall not exceed $66.67 nor be less than $33.33, unless the employee's monthly pay is less than $33, in which case it shall be full amount of monthly pay.
Partial Disability.--A monthly compensation equal to sixty six and two thirds per centum of the difference between the monthly pay of the employee and his monthly wage-earning capacity after the beginning of such disability. The monthly compensation shall not exceed $66.67.
Notice Required.—Every injured employee, or some one for him, must within forty eight hours after the injury give notice thereof to his immediate superior.
Limited Time for Making Claim.—All original claims for disability must be made within sixty days after injury, and death compensation within one year after the death. For reasonable cause shown the Compensation Commission appointed under the Act may allow disability claim made at any time within one year.