Workers’ Compensation Insurance Policy & Law in West Virginia

How Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Defined in West Virginia?

West Virginia defines workers’ compensation as a no-fault insurance program that provides benefits to workers who experience on-the-job injuries or illnesses. “No fault” means that it does not matter who is responsible for the injury or occupational disease, because medical, lost wage, and death benefits will be provided as outlined by law. In exchange for providing workers’ comp coverage to their employees, West Virginia businesses receive protection against being sued in relation to the incident that caused the injury or occupational disease. 

What Are the Laws Regarding Workers’ Compensation Coverage in West Virginia? 

Nearly all businesses in West Virginia are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Certain exemptions exist: 

  • Businesses with fewer than three employees working temporary jobs lasting no more than 10 days per quarter year
  • Sole proprietors
  • Businesses with five or fewer agricultural employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Domestic servants
  • Church workers
  • Professional athletes
  • Temporary state employees 
  • Emergency service volunteers
  • Longshore and harbor workers

What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, employees who experience on-the-job injuries or illnesses are offered benefits for medical care and lost wages under the state’s workers’ compensation law. Benefits include: 

  • Necessary 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

What Are the Penalties in West Virginia for Not Having Workers’ Comp Insurance Coverage?

West Virginia takes workers’ compensation seriously. That means that in West Virginia if a business that is legally required to maintain workers’ comp coverage is found to be noncompliant it is subject to fines and criminal prosecution. 

Businesses can be fined $500 for the first offense and up to $25,000 for repeat offenses. In addition, continued noncompliance can result in imprisonment for up to two years. Other financial penalties such as late penalties and stop work orders may be enforced. 

Learn more about workers’ comp coverage requirements in states other than West Virginia here

What Types of Injuries Are Covered by West Virginia Workers’ Comp?

Although West Virginia law states which types of injuries are legally covered by workers’ comp, there are general guidelines that can help employers understand what kind of injuries are usually covered. Injuries that are typically covered by workers’ comp include: 

  • Injuries that are not the result of intentional self-harm or harm from drug use, alcohol use, or fighting
  • Injuries that fall within the general “course and scope” of the worker’s employment, including long-term occupational injuries and disease

For more information about the workers’ comp claim process, visit our learning center

What Are Workers’ Comp Death Benefits in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, if an employee dies as a result of a work related injury or occupational disease, their surviving spouse and dependents, as defined by law, may be entitled to death benefits, including funeral and burial expenses up to $7,000 and lost income benefits. Lost income benefits typically amount to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly earnings at the time of the injury. The state considers the following dependents:

  • Spouse
  • Children under 18
  • Children under 25 who are dependent on the worker
  • Disabled children of any age who are depend on the worker
  • Parents, grandparents, siblings, and others who are dependent on the worker if none of the above are applicable

How Do Workers’ Comp Settlements Work in West Virginia? 

As in other states, workers’ comp settlements in West Virginia are mutually beneficial agreements made between the injured worker, the employer, and the insurance company that close workers’ comp claims completely. Settlements usually result in the employee being paid an agreed-upon amount of compensation (via structured monthly payments or one lump sum). In exchange, the worker agrees not to pursue additional benefits or civil litigation in relation to the claim in the future, and the claim is closed permanently. 

What Are the Statutes of Limitations Regarding Workers’ Comp in West Virginia? 

In West Virginia, injured employees must file their claim within six months from the date of the injury. Ill employees must file their claim within three years from the date of the diagnosis of an occupational disease, or within three years from the last date of exposure to the disease or cause of illness. Failure to comply with these statutes of limitations as outlined by West Virginia state law may result in claim denial. 

How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in West Virginia?

As in other states, the cost of workers’ comp insurance premiums in West Virginia will vary depending on a variety of circumstances. Private insurers are allowed to set their own rates, and those rates are often determined using several factors that are unique to each business. 

For West Virginia business owners, comparing quotes from multiple companies is the best way to determine how much they should expect to pay. Every business’s premiums will be different depending on claims history and business categorization. For example, if your business is considered low-risk, like accounting, your rates might be lower than those of businesses that are considered high-risk, like oil and gas. 

Many factors unique to your business will be utilized to determine your exact insurance premiums. 

Some of these factors include: 

  • The location of your business
  • The size of your business and the number of employees 
  • The industry in which your business operates

For business owners hoping to lower their workers’ comp premiums in West Virginia, there are some steps that might be able to help. Insurance providers take into account how seriously businesses take workplace safety when calculating workers’ comp premium rates. This means that taking simple steps such as enacting employee training sessions, following industry best practices, and creating safety protocols could potentially help lower your insurance premiums. 

How Do I Get Workers’ Comp for My West Virginia Business?

West Virginia employers can purchase workers’ comp coverage from any private insurance agent, company, or broker that is licensed to operate in the district. Getting coverage in West Virginia can be quick and easy with the right provider. 

Cerity is home to a faster, more affordable way to get workers’ comp. We help West Virginia business owners like yourself get insurance premium quotes fast — without phone calls or paperwork. Using proprietary tools and modern technology, we provide business owners with quick quotes and instant policies. 

Where Can I Get Workers’ Compensation For My West Virginia Business?

We offer workers’ compensation to businesses no matter where you are in West Virginia. If you are located in the Appalachian Plateau, Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, or Shenandoah Valley, we’ll help you protect your West Virginia employees.

If you need workers’ comp coverage for your West Virginia business, you can purchase a policy through any private insurance company, agent, or broker that is licensed to operate in the state. So even if you aren’t in any of the following cities, know that we can still help you:

  • Huntington
  • Charleston
  • Morgantown

Visit our free online quote tool, tell us a little about your business, and begin protecting your West Virginia business today.

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The information provided is intended to provide a general overview. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Cerity® makes no warranties for the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of the information provided, and will not be responsible for any actions taken based on the information contained herein. If you have legal questions or need legal advice, please consult an attorney.