The US Workers’ Compensation Law through a Historical Perspective


The first state-based enactment of workers’ compensation law in the United States was done in the year 1911. The remedies, as well as financial benefits incorporated in the contemporary workers’ compensation for which your attorney such as Perry Bundy Plyler& Long LLP struggles to achieve, did not exist the same way before 1911. But as the industries flourished in a massive way a few decades before 1911, it was essential to enact new rules and regulations for workers’ overall well being and regulate the workers’ compensation processes and procedures in the states.

Though many constitutional muster attempts failed earlier, the first constitutional statute of this nature was the Wisconsin claimfollowed with eight more states in the country. Eventually, all the thirty-six states followed the enactment by the end of the decade. However, the concept of workers’ compensation that laid the foundation of workers’ compensation law in the US in 1911 or even the processes and procedures of workers’ compensation that were practiced before 1911, were not the first of its kinds in the world.

As per “A Brief History of Workers’ Compensation” articulated by Gregory Guyton and published in the Iowa Orthopaedic Journal in 1999, the concept of workers’ concept evolved around 2050 BC in the ancient Sumerian civilization that is the present-day Iraq. The evidence of some forms of workers’ compensation among the early Sumerians was found in the Nippur tablet No 3191 which described about the compensation provided for the injury of a specific part of the body of a worker.

Similarly, the loss of a thumb had the worth of one and half of the value of a finger in the ancient Arab law and the loss of a penis was compensated by the length of the lost penis. However, how the worth or value of a finger and the value of the length of a penis are still unknown and perhaps lost to history.