Workers Compensation In History

 In Workers' Compensation Blog

The idea of workers compensation dates back further than you might expect.  The topic was first documented in the Code of Ur-Nammu, which is the oldest known law code that exists today, estimated from the year 2050 B.C.  It was written in Sumerian on tablets, and originates from Mesopotamia. Although earlier laws did exist before this, the Code of Ur-Nammu is recognized as the earliest extant legal text. From tablet Number 3191, it has been translated that monetary compensation was to be provided to workers that were bodily injured while performing their duties.

Going forward a few years, Babylonia brought us the code of Hammurabi around 1772 BC.  It also mentions workers compensation, based on the workers injuries and implied permanent impairments.

Many ancient laws, including that of Greece, Rome, Arabia, and Chinese, provide a list of precisely what the worker will receive for the loss of certain body parts, even narrowing it down to the length of the body part that has been lost.

Most of these laws were gradually readjusted as the Middle Ages came about.  As that happened, it was more common that the feudal lord would determine the reimbursement, or if one was owed at all.

Eventually, the window for a workers compensation claim became very narrow. It would relate to three restricting principles: Assumption of Risk (if the worker knew the job was risky), Contributory Negligence (if the worker led himself to the injury), and The “Fellow Servant” Rule (if the injury was caused by another worker).

Later in America, the first workers compensation law to pass statewide was in 1902s Maryland. This was shortly followed by the first workers comp law to specifically cover federal employees, which came about in 1906. By 1949, all states had followed Marylands example and set some type of workers compensation guidelines.

Lately, the number for workers compensation cases filed in Illinois has been roughly around 50,000 yearly. If you think you might have a workers compensation claim of your own, dont hesitate to callWorkers Compensation Attorney Michael Goldberg at GWC Law Firm. We understand the ins and outs of these laws, and are sure you to get you what you are owed.

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