You may believe that workers’ compensation is a relatively new concept. In the United States, we are often prone to associate the implementation of such benefits with the Industrial Revolution or with the progressive programs introduced in the 1930s. But the idea of giving recompense to a worker who was injured on the job predates both of these periods of history. In fact an early variation of workers’ compensation was employed among a rather surprising workforce; 18th-century pirates.

During the days prior to the American Revolution, pirates were actually government allies who were given safe port in exchange for a cut of the spoils earned from their plundering efforts. But as you may imagine, being a pirate in the 18th century had its share of occupational hazards, what with having to engage in violent altercations to steal booty from others at sea.

So a system of compensation was created. The rate of compensation was based on a prevailing wage rate that existed among colonial Americans. For example, compensation for the loss of a finger was 100 pieces of eight, pieces of eight being Spanish currency.

The manner in which pirates were compensated was probably pretty straightforward. It may have been that an injured pirate simply showed his or her injury to someone in charge and was then granted payment.

Of course, today the process for receiving workers’ compensation is decidedly more complicated. For one thing, after you have been injured on the job, you will need to formally file a claim with your employer. This means filling out forms and fully documenting the cause and extent of your injury.

Filling out your claim thoroughly and correctly is an important step in getting the compensation you need to cover your medical bills. But the process of filing a claim can be daunting for those unfamiliar with how to best secure the available benefits. For this reason, if you are injured on the job, an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney may be able to offer you the guidance and support necessary to maximize your benefits.