Tonight on my way home from work I passed by a local chiropractic office and noticed their signboard reads:

“The First Wealth is Health”

While the sign didn’t acknowledge the author, if I’m not mistaken it was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson and is a phrase that has been widely discussed and debated since it was first penned.


Based upon my day to day experiences as an attorney representing injured workers in their workers’ compensation claims, I’m struck by how accurate the statement really is. I believe that our health is something we often take for granted, forgetting just how precious of a resource it is. Every single day I’m reminded of the profound loss people experience when their health fails them.


It isn’t uncommon within workers’ compensation for injured workers to be put in the position of accepting a monetary figure designed to compensate them for the loss of their health. More frequently than not, they are disappointed and frustrated with the monetary benefits they receive. I believe that’s because it’s nearly impossible to put a realistic monetary value on heath, because our health really is our first wealth.