Rely on

Louisiana’ premier
personal injury lawyer

Request Your Free Consultation

The history of assigning value to a lost body part

Posted in Our Blog on April 15, 2016

The idea of a body part being worth money in a workers’ compensation claim is not something that most Louisiana residents think about on a daily basis. However, this is exactly what workers’ compensation attorneys concern themselves with – and anyone who has lost a body part in a serious accident caused by another party’s negligence should also think about the issue. One thing that is particularly interesting about this topic is the history of assigning value to lost body parts, which dates back to the ancient days of King Ur-Nammu, who ruled in Mesopotamia at about 2100 B.C.

During King Ur-Nammu’s reign, he ruled that a certain amount of silver must be paid by anyone who caused the loss of another man’s foot to the injured person. Specifically, the amount to be paid for the loss of a foot was 10 shekels. Meanwhile, the price paid for causing the smashing of someone else’s limb was one mina. Similar concepts of paying for a lost limb can be found in the famous Code of Hammurabi and in other well-known documents from antiquity.

Later, during the 1900s, workers’ compensation laws were developed in the United States. In these laws, politicians created language that was not that different from the ancient laws that mandated compensation to individuals who had lost their limbs. In workers’ compensation law there are benefits known as “temporary total disability” and “permanent total disability.” Conceivably, the loss of a limb might be classified under either of these items, depending how severely the loss of limb has affected an injured workers’ ability to continue his or her job duties.

An award of permanent total disability or temporary total disability benefits could be essential to a worker who has suffered the loss of a body part if he or she is no longer able to earn a living because of his or her injury. This type of compensation is certainly different from the days of King Ur-Nammu – and in many ways, it is probably better. Louisiana residents who have lost limbs on the job may therefore wish to speak with a qualified workers’ compensation benefits attorney to determine their best strategies for obtaining such benefits.