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The Origins of Workers Compensation - Workers' Compensation Attorney

The Origins of Workers Compensation - Workers' Compensation Attorney

The Origins of Workers Compensation - Workers' Compensation Attorney
Did you know that pirates have a special place in the world of workers compensation? It's true! This is due to the fact that pirates happen to be the first known group of people to have a set and well documented form of workers’ compensation. When people think of pirates, normally the image that immediately comes to mind is the bloodthirsty and ruthless (yet often still romanticized) swashbucklers that Hollywood has given us to watch. Rarely do you think of any laws they may have had a hand in creating other than those that have to deal with theft. However, it has been shown through historical sources that pirates may be who you need to thank for your pay when you get hurt on the job. The golden age of piracy, generally agreed to be between 1650 and 1720, saw people of all kinds on the high seas. While the image of bloodshed is not wholly incorrect, there was also an interestingly democratic and almost playful side to many pirates that we are still slowly uncovering. One of these topics that is starting to become better known is that of their workers’ compensation program. If a pirate lost their right arm and survived, they were paid 600 pieces of eight, which is another term for silver. The left arm and right leg were both worth 500 pieces of eight while the left leg was worth 100 pieces less. An eye and a finger were both worth only 100 pieces of eight, but unfortunately fingers could be lost quickly in that line of work. Some ships even offered compensation if a fake limb, such as a peg leg, was lost due to the rarity of a well carved and correctly fitted replacement. Another fun fact was that if the pirate survived the injury that made them eligible for compensation, they were guaranteed lifetime employment on the ship. They were also offered lighter duty and their disabilities were accommodated. This makes piracy one of the first known professions to have both compensation and a return-to-work policy. Thankfully, nowadays we have workers compensation lawyers and pay in money instead of pieces of eight. Here at Collier, we will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve and do everything in our power to make sure that you don’t need to worry about how you’re going to support your family if you're hurt on the job. Give us a call so we can help today!