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Texas Workers' Compensation Act passed


On this day in 1989, the Texas legislature passed the Texas Workers' Compensation Act. The beginnings of workers' compensation in Texas extend back to 1913, when the legislature passed a law establishing the Industrial Accident Board and the Texas Employers' Insurance Association to provide for adequate compensation for injuries or death resulting from accidents on the job. A Workmen's Compensation Law, passed in 1917, further supported the compensation movement. By the 1980s many critics claimed that the compensation system was too expensive and paid too few benefits. In an effort to overhaul the system, the Texas Legislature passed the Texas Workers' Compensation Act. As a result of the new law the Industrial Accident Board was replaced by the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission. The new act increased maximum benefits from $238 to $416 a week and initiated a series of programs designed to improve the compensation system. In general, it sought to replace litigation with an administrative review process. Some practices included setting up worker health and safety programs, establishing penalties for fraudulent claims, streamlining medical costs, and establishing a research center for studying worker-related issues. As of 2003, the agency had gone through a Sunset Commision review and was due to continue through 2005.

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