Before Pennsylvania, Before the U.S., Before England: The Germans as the Progenitors (1884) of No-Fault Liability for Work Accidents

View the article: The Progenitor German Model of Workers’ Compensation

The Pennsylvania Act, and the workers’ compensation system in general, were modeled on the British Workers’ Compensation Acts of 1897 and 1906.  Indeed, early Board and court decisions resolving issues arising under the 1915 Pennsylvania Act frequently invoked the authority of published decisions of English courts.  Those early Pennsylvania adjudicators did so with good reason, as much of the initial Pennsylvania Act was taken word-for-word from its English progenitor.  We learn from  Mr. John Kleeberg’s 2003 article, however, that Germany  –  or to be more precise, Prussia – preceded England in the enactment of social insurance laws.

Kleeberg’s  succinct account.  One will be able to tell  that the more ambitious German model, though influential throughout Europe,  ultimately did not win out in the U.S.