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West Virginia workers’ compensation law

West Virginia requires most businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have three employees or more.

Who needs workers’ comp insurance in West Virginia?

West Virginia businesses with three or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are a few limited exceptions to the West Virginia workers’ compensation requirements. You don’t need to carry workers’ compensation for:

  • Fewer than three employees who work temporary jobs that last no more than 10 days per quarter
  • Five or fewer agricultural employees
  • Employees who are domestic servants
  • Employees who work for a church
  • Professional athletes
  • Temporary employees of the state
  • Volunteers for emergency services
  • Longshore and harbor workers

What is the average cost of workers’ compensation insurance in West Virginia?

Estimated employer costs for workers’ compensation in West Virginia are $1.44 per $100 in covered payroll, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance [PDF].

Costs are based on the level of risk associated with different positions at your business. Some employers will have a variety of workers’ compensation class codes, depending on the work duties performed by their employees. Your workers’ compensation insurance company will determine your cost based on how many employees perform different jobs at your business and their exposure to risk.

Workers’ compensation in West Virginia is regulated by the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner.

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What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp insurance in West Virginia?

If a business fails to provide records of information about workers’ compensation coverage in West Virginia, it can be fined $500 or more on the first offense and up to $25,000 for subsequent offenses.

A repeat offender could be subject to imprisonment for up to two years.

If an employer doesn’t pay workers’ compensation contributions, there will be a late penalty of 10% of the computed tax, plus interest. This fee will be between $50 and $500. In addition, a stop-work order could be issued, which prevents the employer from continuing to do business.

Workers’ compensation death benefits in West Virginia

If an employee dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, death benefits can be awarded to surviving dependents.

Death benefits are awarded to survivors based on their relationship to the deceased worker, including:

  • The worker’s surviving spouse
  • The worker’s children under age 18 (or under age 25 if the child is a full-time student)
  • The worker’s disabled children of any age

If there are no survivors that meet those criteria, the benefits would be awarded to the worker’s surviving parents if they relied on the deceased worker for financial support. Finally, if there are no surviving parents, benefits could go to dependent grandchildren and disabled siblings. If a deceased worker has no dependents, death benefits are only to pay for medical and funeral expenses.

The surviving dependents are entitled to death benefits that are two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly earnings at the time of the injury. Dependents share that benefit, and the proportions of the shared benefits are determined based on the situation.

Funeral costs can be covered up to $7,000.

Workers’ comp settlements in West Virginia

A workers’ compensation settlement is an agreement between the parties that will resolve your workers’ compensation claim. This benefits both the employee and the employer. A West Virginia workers’ compensation settlement is usually given in a lump sum.

A settlement in a workers’ compensation claim is a full and final resolution. When a settlement agreement is reached, the worker can no longer bring a claim against the employer or insurer based on that injury. Most injured employees will wait to settle a claim until they’ve reached maximum medical improvement, which means the condition is stable and unlikely to become worse.

The amount of a settlement will be based on the severity and nature of the injury. Workers’ compensation benefits include medical treatments and therapies, lost wages, and death benefits.

Workers’ compensation statute of limitations in West Virginia

A West Virginia workers’ compensation claim must be filed within six months from the date of your injury. It can be within three years from the date of diagnosis of an occupational disease or illness, or three years from your last exposure to the hazardous condition that caused your illness.

If an employee misses that six-month deadline, he or she might forfeit their right to receive benefits.

Compare free workers’ comp quotes with Insureon

Start a free online application today to compare workers’ compensation insurance quotes for your small business from leading U.S. carriers. Insureon’s licensed agents specialize in insurance for numerous West Virginia businesses.

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