This article shows how Argentine judges effectively came to make labour law when ruling in occupational accident cases between 1900 and 1915. During this period, in the absence of a specific occupational accident law, a number of Argentine workers who had been victims of occupational accidents sued their employers for damages according to the Civil Code. By reinterpreting the principles of the Civil Code in these cases, Argentine judges attempted to accommodate aspects of a new social and economic reality to an increasingly outdated legal framework. The article argues that, in doing so, these judges articulated their own solution to one of the central issues of the time: the ‘social question’. Furthermore, the article shows how the judiciary's particular solution to the social question effectively defined the kind of citizenship rights workers were able to claim in court.