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Priestly V Fowler

Definition of "Priestly v. fowler"

Tanya Nagyhetenyi, MBA
  Coldwell Banker

1837 British case that established that an employer was not responsible for injury to an employee if the injury was caused by another employee. Prior to this, English common law provided that an employer took responsibility for his employees; Priestly v. Fowler was the first crack in that relationship. Later, other exceptions to employer responsibility were established until finally the employee shouldered all responsibility for his own welfare because, it was argued, he or she had, after all, agreed to accept the job. Late in the 19th century in Great Britain, and early in the 20th century in the U.S., workers compensation laws were passed in which the employer accepts responsibility for on-the-job injuries and pays benefits according to an established schedule. In exchange, the employee accepts this as the exclusive remedy. However, in the past decade there have been many challenges to this system, including cases in which injured employees have been allowed to sue their employers.

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