Call Us Today - It's Free!

The Great Compromise, The Grand Bargain: A History of Workers’ Compensation in NY


How Did Workers’ Compensation Begin in New York? Discover the System’s Humble Beginnings and How It Has Evolved to Serve Today’s Workforce

On March 24, 1911, the New York Court of Appeals struck down the newly created workers’ compensation system as being unconstitutional. The very next day, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Manhattan burned down, killing 146 workers and injuring 78. 

Although fire stairs and sprinklers had been available at that time, the building did not have them. And the fire hose would not turn on. The injured employees and families of the dead were not able to sue because the employer went bankrupt. 

The tragedy motivated the legislature to rewrite the constitution to include workers’ compensation. 

The legislation is called the Grand Bargain, the Great Compromise. If you have an accident on the job that’s your employer’s fault, you cannot sue your employer. New York State is a no-fault system, which means it doesn’t make a difference whose fault it is. You are, however, entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers’ compensation benefits provide medical treatment in accordance with the medical treatment guidelines for the particular body part that was injured.  In addition, you’re entitled to indemnity benefits while you miss time from work. The indemnity benefits would be wage replacement benefits. If you have a permanent injury, there are permanency benefits.

The System Continues Evolving, But Issues Remain

Over the past century, New York’s workers’ compensation system has greatly expanded and evolved from its initial protections. Further laws strengthened coverage through the mid-20th century to cover all private employers. Today’s system handles over 240,000 claims totaling $10 billion+ yearly for New York’s 10+ million workers.

Yet despite these advances, the knot of complex rules and regulations still poses challenges for many injured personnel attempting to navigate the system and receive entitled benefits in current times. 

Key issues like improper claim denials, confusing medical guidelines, insufficient wage replacement, and general red tape continue hindering New York’s harmed labor force from their rightful remedies.

We’re Here to Help Injured Workers Receive Fair Compensation

That’s why our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys make it our duty to cut through the complexity on injured clients’ behalf. We assist with denied claims, insufficient payments, poor medical authorizations, unjust employment termination regarding your case, and more. 

With dedicated legal guidance from our workplace injury professionals, fewer unwarranted obstacles stand in the way of you receiving the care and benefits guaranteed by New York law for your sacrifices to the workforce.

We also appeal unfair case decisions, apply pressure to negligent insurers, and take civil action against discriminatory employers. Our goal is to fulfill the original purpose of these vital protections – helping injured personnel recover and receive due compensation without falling into poverty in return for their dedication to New York’s economy.

Trust O’Connor Law’s Years of Combined Experience

With decades of experience representing clients in workers’ compensation disputes, no law firm surpasses our in-depth knowledge of New York State’s ever-evolving system. We stay wholly committed to serving your best interests while navigating this convoluted realm. 

Contact us today for a consultation with our legal team about fighting for the maximum benefits you deserve.

  • bronx
  • larchmont
  • mount vernon
  • ossining
  • port chester
  • westchester
  • white plains
  • yonkers