The History of Workers’ Compensation Laws

Categories: Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law. | October 20, 2021

The history of compensation for bodily injury begins shortly after the advent of written history itself. One of the earliest examples of a workers’ compensation system dates back to 2050 B.C. A law in Ancient Sumeria paid workers for their injuries. The code of Hammurabi from 1750 B.C. provided a similar set of rewards for specific injuries and their implied permanent impairments.

Most histories of workers’ compensation give credit for the origins of the current U.S. workers’ compensation system to Europe, to Germany in particular. Germany had the first modern workers’ compensation laws, known as Sickness and Accident Laws, which were enacted following their introduction by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1884.

Workers’ compensation was one of the first social insurance enacted in the U.S. It took the United States 37 years for every state to pass its own workers’ compensation law. Wisconsin was the first state to institute workers compensation laws in 1911, with nine other states following the same year. By 1948, all states had passed workers’ compensation laws.

As a result of these laws, most workers in the United States today can go about their activities safely in the knowledge that should they be injured, then they and their families will receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation programs in the United States are state regulated, with laws determined by each state legislative body and implemented by a state agency.

If you have been injured on the job, you need an experienced firm to protect your rights and level the playing field as you seek compensation from your employer and their insurance company. At Krol, Bongiorno & Given, we have handled well over 30,000 claims for injured workers throughout the state of Illinois. For immediate help with a work injury case, call (312) 726-5567 for a free consultation or contact us online.