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TABLE 14.-DURATION OF DISABILITY AND LOSS OF EARNING POWER: PER CENT OF INJURED PERSONS RECOVERING FROM INJURIES WITHIN FIVE YEARS AND LOSS OF EARNING POWER OF THOSE STILL DISABLED, BY INDUSTRY GROUPS, 1896 TO 1907– Continued.
STREET AND SMALI. RAILROADS (association 57).
1896. 1897 1898 1899 1900. 1901 1902. 1903. 1904. 1905 1906 1907
24.87 32. 40 28. 90
32. 40 27.70 28. 68 28. 42 27.66 22. 26 24. 13 22.86 22. 35
TABLE 14.-DURATION OF DISABILITY AND LOSS OF EARNING POWER: PER CENT OF
INJURED PERSONS RECOVERING FROM INJURIES WITHIN FIVE YEARS AND LOSS OF EARNING POWER OF THOSE STILL DISABLED, BY INDUSTRY GROUPS, 1896 TO 1907– Concluded.
MARINE NAVIGATION' (association 63).
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION AND INSURANCE: LAWS AND
LINDLEY D. CLARK, A. M., LL. M.
In the Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor for September, 1910, there was published a review of the conditions then existing in the movement in various States for modifications in the laws governing the recovery of damages or of compensation for injuries to employees. Since that date most of the commissions named in the article have made reports, some laws have been enacted, and the New York compulsory compensation law has been held by the court of last resort of that State to be unconstitutional. It is the purpose of the present article to notice briefly the subjects presented in the reports of the commissions, to reproduce the enacted laws and certain bills, and to discuss briefly these laws and bills and the decisions on the New York law.
REPORTS OF COMMISSIONS.
The commission of Montana is the only one of those mentioned in the September Bulletin from which no report has been received. The reports at hand will be considered in order.
The report of the Illinois commission' is a compact small octavo volume of 249 pages, presenting a brief record of the work of the commission; a draft of a bill; a discussion of the constitutionality of a compensation law; records of cases heard before certain courts of the State; the record of the coroner of Cook County, in which the city of Chicago is situated; special studies of the coal mining industry, railroads, manufactories, etc., from the standpoint of hazard, and showing accident records and compensation for injuries; and other valuable statistical and economic data. The discussion as to constitutionality was made by the commission's attorney, who expressed the conviction that compulsory compensation will be generally accepted within a decade as being within the police power of the State to provide for. He recommended, however, as a concession to the present state of information and public opinion,
1 Report of the employers' liability commission of the State of Illinois, 1910.
that an alternative proposition be enacted, embodying compensation as optional but not required, though so limiting rights and defenses as to lead both parties to an acceptance of the compensation provisions. “That the law should read into every contract of hiring a limited guaranty by the master to his servant against injury to life or limb while the servant is going about his master's business, when it appears that the larger proportion of such injuries in almost all employments are entirely incidental to the business, does not seem any more unreasonable than that the law should conclusively presume that the servant, upon entering the employment, voluntarily assumes in advance all the necessary and inherent hazards of the trade."
The study of the coal-mining industry-one of the largest of the State-leads the commission to the conclusion that the adoption of the scheme of compensation proposed, giving $2,250 for fatal accidents as against the present average award of $168, would effect a charge of but 1.6 cents per ton of coal mined to meet the necessary expenditures. As to the direction of this expenditure it is said: “Should this prompt the exercise of extra care, as the commission confidently anticipates, only a portion of this increase would be utilized for the purpose of compensation, the remainder going into the plant in additional safeguards and conveniences."
In the other industries investigated and in the report from the Illinois Manufacturers' Association details of accidents showing the nature of the injury and the form and amount of damages or compensation on account of it are shown; also a comparison of the present actual cost and the estimated cost under the commission's plan.
MASSACHUSETTS. This commission was appointed in June of last year and submits only a partial report, recommending that another year be given to investigation before any bill is submitted, an earlier tentative draft not being included in the report. A pamphlet of 23 pages 1 sketches briefly the forms of compensation in use in Great Britain, Germany, and Norway as typical of the three systems in use in countries having compensation systems. Tables are given showing the period of disability in 2,849 accidents reported to the commission from September 12 to November 20, 1910; also the cost of industrial accidents in 734 establishments during 1909.
MINNESOTA. The report of the Minnesota commission is devoted more to the discussion of legal and constitutional questions than to a study of industrial conditions. Mention should be made in this connec
1 Report of the commission on compensation for industrial accidents, 1911.
tion, however, of a statistical and economic study of “Industrial accidents and employers' liability in Minnesota,” made by the State bureau of labor, and published as a part of its Twelfth Biennial Report (1909-10). Prefaced by a brief historical sketch of the question under consideration, there is given a summary of the laws of foreign countries, taken from the Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor; the action of the Federal Government is next reviewed; also that of various States in the appointment of commissions, and particularly the movements that led to the appointment of the Minnesota commission. Practically 100 of the 289 pages of the report are taken up with a presentation of the draft of a bill proposed by the com: mission and its discussion, point by point, in which the rights and liabilities provided are defined and court decisions cited in support of the various provisions.
The conclusions of the commission are adverse to the constitutionality of a State insurance law, in view of the provisions of the State constitution which forbid the State to engage in private business or to use the public funds in competitive undertakings as a means of regulating the conduct of business, citing Rippe v. Becker (56 Minn. 100), a case in which it was held that the State had not the power to build and operate a grain elevator. The discussion as to the constitutionality of the proposed bill is detailed and, together with the summary, presents the argument in favor of a compensation bill of compulsory application.
The report of the New Jersey commission is embodied in a message of the governor to the legislature, transmitting the report. The pamphlet of 91 pages contains the evidence taken at the hearings of the commission, discussions of the defenses commonly in use in meeting actions for injuries to employees, some account of the Chicago conference of November, 1910, and the bill proposed for enactment. The representatives of labor on the commission, while supporting the principle of the bill, objected to the amount of compensation proposed, desiring to make the maximum period 400 weeks instead of 300 weeks, which the bill provided.
The report of this commission ? consists of two octavo volumes, each of more than 400 pages. The first volume contains the report to the State legislature, with numerous appendices containing summaries and discussions of the compensation acts of foreign countries,
Message of the governor of New Jersey transmitting to the legislature the report of commission on employers' liability, 1911.
• Report to the Legislature of the State of Ohio by the commission appointed under senate bill No.250 of the Laws of 1910 (employers' liability commission, 1911).