As we noted in a previous post, the concept of workers' compensation dates back some 4,000 years. Considering the expanse of time the concept has been around, it might surprise some readers to learn that workers' compensation in New York State has existed for only slightly more than 100 years.
If you go to your personal physician with a specific injury, one of the first questions you likely will face is whether the injury happened at work. There's a good reason for the inquiry. If the trauma occurred outside of work, your personal or employer-sponsored health insurance receives the claim. If it was job-related, the claim goes to the company's workers' compensation insurer. Obviously, that difference in coverage influences claims processing and payment.
Injuries on the job happen. Some jobs are more hazardous than others but the reality is that injuries can happen to anyone, at anytime. The premise of workers' compensation coverage is that fault is not a factor. Workers' compensation law in New York provides individuals with the medical care for injuries and illnesses related to work, as well as compensation when a work injury or illness has caused lost time from work.
Workers' compensation, as a concept, is not new. Its history traces back some 4,000 years to ancient Sumeria. Documented law from that time includes provisions for monetary compensation for a worker's loss of body parts and even broken bones. A few hundred years later, Ancient Greek, Roman, Arab, and Chinese law all provided sets of compensation schedules, with precise payments for the loss of a body part. In the millennia since, the model has spread around the world and the standard of coverage has changed.