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THIRD COMPENSATION FOR INJURIES. In case of death a few of the states provide for the payment to the family of the deceased employee of a lump sum, the amount of three or four years' wages, but not less than a minimum amount varying from $1000 to $2000 and not more than a maximum amount of about $4000. In most cases, however, a system of weekly payments is adopted. Payments are usually made to the surviving wife or husband, and minor children under eighteen (or over eighteen if physically or mentally incapacitated), and if there are none then to other persons, if any, wholly dependent upon the deceased for support. Provision is also usually made proportionally for persons partially dependent.
These payments are based on the average weekly wages of the deceased employee, and are made for only a limited time. They vary greatly in the different states both as to amounts and the times during which they are paid. In Massachusetts, for example, the amount of the weekly payment is one-half of the average weekly wages of the deceased, but not less than four dollars nor more than ten for a period of eight hundred weeks from the date of the injury. In other states having a similar scale of payments it is provided that where the average wage does not exceed five dollars the weekly payment shall equal the whole average wage. On the other hand the law of New York provides for the payment of thirty per cent. of the average weekly wage to the surviving wife or dependent husband during widowhood or dependent widowerhood, and fifteen per cent. additional for each minor child until the age of eighteen, not exceeding in all sixty-six and two-thirds per cent. of the average weekly wage. Where there are no dependents provision is usually made for the payment of funeral expenses to a limited amount.
In case of injuries not fatal, the laws of all the states provide for immediate surgical and hospital treatment at the expense of the employer for a term varying from two weeks to sixty days. In some states there is a further limitation as to the amount of expense to be thus incurred.
Usually, in order to guard against malingering no direct payment is made for two weeks after the accident. After that time weekly payments are made for limited terms to the injured employee, or, in case of his death before full payment has been
made, to his family the amount of which is based on a certain percentage, varying from fifty to sixty-six and two-thirds, of his average weekly wages. These weekly benefit payments are usually granted for limited periods and are subject to the further limitation that they shall not be less than a minimum sum varying from four to six dollars per week, nor exceed a maximum sum of from ten to fifteen dollars. In case of blindness or of the loss of a limb or other bodily mutilation an additional payment is usually provided for, the amount of which is determined by certain schedules in which the amount payable for each kind of injury is specified. In Washington and Oregon life pensions are given in case of permanent total disability.
Unless the employer has actual knowledge of the accident, notice must be given to him as soon as practicable. In some states notice must be given within thirty days after the accident. In New York notice must be given to the employer and to the State Compensation Commission within ten days, or in case of death within thirty days. The notice should specify the names of employer and employee, the nature of the injury and the time and place of the occurrence of the accident, but errors in defects in the notice do not prejudice the rights of the employee unless the employer is misled thereby. The claim for compensation must also be presented within a limited time, usually within one year after the accident.
After the employee has given notice of his injury and from time to time during his disability he must if requested by the employer submit himself to examination by a physician or surgeon appointed by the employer, but he has a right to have a physician appointed and paid by himself present at such examinations. The Illinois statute provides that if the employee shall persist in unsanitary or injurious practices which tend either to imperil or retard recovery, or shall refuse to submit to such medical or surgical treatment as is reasonably essential to promote recovery his compensation may be reduced or suspended by the State Board.
It is provided in the laws of many of the states that no agreement on the part of the employee to waive the benefits of the act shall be valid, and also that rights to compensation shall not be assignable or subject to claims of creditor.
FOURTH PROCEDURE. The Workmen's Compensation Law usually provides for the appointment of a State Board or Commission having jurisdiction over all claims for compensation under the Act. If the parties agree upon the amount and terms of compensation a memorandum of the agreement is filed with the Board which is thereafter enforceable in the same manner as a decree or judgment of a court. If the liability of the employer is disputed, or if the parties do not agree as to the compensation to be paid, a petition setting forth the nature and circumstances of the case is presented to the Board, upon which, after hearing the parties, the Board determines the questions at issue between them. In some states these questions are decided by a board of arbitration consisting of one member of the State Board and one person appointed by each of the parties, their decision being subject to revision by the State Board. In Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island the amount of compensation is determined in the first instance by proceedings in court. These laws are always liberally construed; the proceedings before the Board are informal, and technical rules of evidence are disregarded.
The State Board retains a supervision over the matter of compensation and may on proper showing modify the original award if a change of circumstances requires it. It usually has power also to commute weekly payments into payment of a lump sum if that clearly appears to be for the interest of the party receiving it, and to make such other changes in the form and manner of payment as it may deem to be for the best interest of the parties.
FIFTH - INSURANCE. The increased liabilities imposed upon the employer by the Compensation Laws have made it more than ever important to him to be able to insure himself against these risks. It is no less important to the employee that his employer should be insured, and that the payment of compensation for injuries should not be dependent upon the solvency of the employer. Accordingly, in many of the Compensation laws special provision is made for such insurance, either by the establishment of a State Fund or by the organization of an Employers' Insurance Association.
The policies of the several states both as to the form of insurance and as to making such insurance compulsory vary greatly. In some, as in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Nebraska, and Wisconsin insurance is optional. In California it is optional, although a State Fund is provided for.
provided for. In other states insurance in some form is compulsory. Thus, in Massachusetts the provisions of the Act apply only to subscribers to the "Employers' Insurance Association,” which is under the supervision of the State, and to those who insure in private stock or mutual companies. In some states the law goes still farther; thus in Connecticut, New York, Illinois and some other states the employer must either satisfy the State Board of his financial responsibility and ability to pay any compensation awarded or he must insure in the State Fund or Employers' Association provided for in the Act or in some responsible private company.
There seems at present to be a growing tendency to provide for some system of State insurance, either by the establishment of a State Fund as in New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, California, Washington, and Nevada, or by the organization of Employers' Mutual Association under the supervision of the State as in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
ABSTRACTS OF WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION LAWS
The three common law defenses referred to in these abstracts are: 1. Assumption by the employee of the risks of the employment. 2. Negligence of fellow-employee - the fellow-servant doctrine. 3. Contributory negligence on the part of the injured employee.
ARIZONA. - Compensation compulsory in certain dangerous occupations, for injury due to necessary risks of employment, or to failure of employer or his employees to use due care. Employments specified: - work on railroads; blasting; erection or demolition of steel frame buildings; use of hoisting apparatus on same; work on ladders or scaffolds more than twenty feet from the ground in erecting any structure; use of apparatus charged with electric current; pole lines for telegraph or telephone; mine and quarry work; tunnels, sub-ways ard viaducts; work in factories operated by steam or electricity.
Compensation : in case of death, twenty-four hundred times onehalf of daily earnings not to exceed $4000, to be applied to support of widow, if any, and support and education of minor children until eighteen; medical and funeral expenses also payable from fund. If no widow or children, then to dependent father and mother or sister. For injury not resulting in death within six months but producing total incapacity for work for more than two weeks — semi-monthly payment during incapacity of one-half of average semi-monthly earnings. In case of partial incapacity or of partial recovery, payment of one-half of difference between earnings before and earning capacity after the accident. Payment not to exceed in all $4000. Notice must be given to employer or foreman within two weeks, and duplicate sent to Attorney General. Disputed questions if not settled by agreement or arbitration, then by reference to Attorney General or by action at law. Both parties presumed to be bound by Act, but may disaffirm by giving notice. If either party refuses to make or accept compensation under the Act the other may resort to other legal remedies. Parties in occupations other than those above may elect to come under the Act.
CALIFORNIA. · Act includes employments of all kinds, unless casual and not in the usual course of employer's business, excepting agricultural labor, stock or poultry raising and domestic service. Intoxication or wilful misconduct of employee bars claim. Remedy exclusive except for injury caused by wilful misconduct of employer. Compensation: Medical and hospital treatment and medicines for 90 days. 2. In case of death, (a) To persons wholly dependent 65% of average weekly earnings to amount of three times average annual earnings, not less than $1000, nor more than $5000. (b) To those partially dependent a percentage of such amount equal to proportion of annual income given by the deceased to such persons. (c) If no dependents, funeral expenses $100. 3. For permanent disability, 65% of average weekly earnings for periods of from 40 to 240 weeks according to degree of disability, and in addition, when disability amounts to 70 to 90%, a percentage of weekly earnings varying from 10 to 30%, and in case of total disability 40%, for life.
For temporary total disability 65% of average weekly earnings during disability beginning at end of two weeks; and for temporary partial disability 65% of weekly loss of wages, in neither case exceeding in all three times amount of average annual earnings, nor for time