The History of Workers’ Compensation: Halloween Edition

rsz pirate blog

This Halloween, whether “yerr” handing out candy or trick or treating, you may see a lot of people dressed up as pirates. It may come as a surprise that pirates were some of the first people in the world to develop workers’ compensation during the 17th century. Unlike their Hollywood depictions, pirates were organized when it came to having checks and balances in place to maintain a strong governing structure. 1


The pirates had a system called a Chasse-Partie, or a set of rules, which included how the treasure should be distributed evenly amongst the pirates and how much treasure should be given to crew members who were injured from the journey. In the novel The Buccaneers of America, published in 1678, Caribbean buccaneer Alexander O. Exquemelin describes his experiences with the system of workers’ compensation for pirates. The compensation amounts varied depending on the part of the body that was injured, similar to today’s system. 2




Fortunately, much has progressed in terms of workplace safety and compensation laws since the 17th century. Still, workplace accidents do happen and it’s important to know your rights to compensation. 


If you were injured on the job, contact us for a free consultation today.


1 Beals MD, Rodney K, Compensation and Recovery From Injury, The Western Journal of Medicine, 

2 Exquemelin, Alexander O., The Buccaneers of America

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