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How Did Workers’ Compensation Get Started?

How Did Workers' Compensation Get Started?

Most people have heard of workers’ compensation, but how long has it been around? Bloom Law Office specializes in workers’ compensation law in New Jersey, and we know just how little most people know about this law. The first state-based workers’ compensation laws were enacted in 1911 thanks to the Industrial Revolution that demanded we change how costs connected to injuries in the workplace were handled—and how deaths were being compensated.

Wisconsin was the first state to require state-wide insurance, although other states had tried before and failed. By 1920, 37 states had workers’ compensation policies in place. However, the heart of workers’ compensation has a long history.

In ancient Sumeria, which is now known as Iran, the “Ur law” within the Nippur Tablet outlined compensation for injuries in the workplace detailed by body parts—these laws were written in 2050 B.C. For example, losing a thumb was the same as losing half of a finger. Other systems that mimic today’s workers’ compensation laws are also in the 1760 B.C. Hammurabi’s Code, ancient Chinese laws, and ancient Greek laws. There was a difference between an impairment (when a body part no longer functions) and disability (the inability to perform a task) which still exists in workers’ compensation laws today.

However, modern compensation laws largely stem from Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. HE established the 1871 Employer’s Liability Law followed by the Workers’ Accident Insurance movement in 1884. His programs offered financial benefits along with rehabilitation and medical benefits. Plus, it protected employers from lawsuits.

Changing Times For Worker Rights

The idea of compensating workers, followed by protecting employers, is far from now. However, there have been shifts as we’ve redefined what constitutes disabilities and impairments. The Digital Era has also ushered in more telecommuters and virtual office workers. Not too long ago, carpal tunnel syndrome from desk jobs was unheard of, but now it’s a relatively common complaint in workers’ compensation claims.

It’s essential to file a workers’ compensation claim even if you think an injury will go away or isn’t a big deal—especially in an era of chronic conditions. Contact Bloom Law Office for more information, to schedule a free workers’ compensation case review, and for reliable and fair legal protection.

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