Workers’ Compensation Insurance in West Virginia
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West Virginia workers' compensation insurance

West Virginia requires all businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance, with some exceptions. This policy provides medical benefits and wage loss benefits for employees who are injured on the job.

Who needs workers’ compensation in West Virginia?

All West Virginia businesses with employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are a few exemptions 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 sports athletes
  • Temporary employees of the state
  • Volunteers for emergency services
  • Longshore and harbor workers

Do sole proprietors in West Virginia need workers' compensation?

Sole proprietors and independent contractors are not required to carry workers' compensation insurance for themselves in West Virginia. However, some opt to purchase coverage to protect against the potentially high cost of a work-related injury. Health insurance providers can deny injury claims that are related to employment.

How much does workers' compensation insurance cost in West Virginia?

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The average cost of workers’ compensation in West Virginia is $49 per month.

Your workers' comp premium is calculated based on a few factors, including:

  • Payroll
  • Location
  • Number of employees
  • Industry and risk factors
  • Coverage limits
  • Claims history

How are workers' compensation insurance rates determined?

The cost of a workers' comp policy primarily depends 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. West Virginia uses the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) classification system for these codes.

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.

How can West Virginia business owners save money on workers' comp?

To save money on workers' comp insurance, it's important to make sure you classify your employees correctly. Employees with desk jobs or other jobs with a low risk of injury cost less to insure. This also helps you avoid misclassification fines.

In some cases, small business owners can choose to buy pay-as-you-go workers' compensation. This type of workers' comp policy has a low upfront premium, and lets you make payments based on your actual payroll instead of estimated payroll. It's useful for businesses that hire seasonal help or have fluctuating numbers of employees.

Finally, a documented safety program can help lower workers' comp costs. A safer workplace means fewer accidents, which helps keep your premium low.

How does workers' comp work in West Virginia?

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

When an employee is injured on the job, this policy covers the cost of medical care and provides lost wage benefits. The employer's liability insurance included in most policies protects employers from lawsuits related to workplace injuries.

Workers' compensation benefits for injured workers in West Virginia include:

  • Medical benefits covering the cost of medical treatment related to the injury
  • Permanent total disability benefits
  • Permanent partial disability benefits
  • Temporary total disability benefits
  • Temporary partial disability benefits
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Death benefits for fatal incidents

What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp 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.

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Workers’ compensation law for 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 bills 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’ compensation 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 statute of limitations in West Virginia

The State of West Virginia requires workers’ compensation claims to be filed within six months from the date of the injury. It can be within three years from the date of diagnosis of an occupational disease or illness, or three years from the employee's last exposure to the hazardous condition that caused the illness.

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

Get free workers’ comp quotes with Insureon

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

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Updated: February 5, 2024
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