Workers' Compensation in West Virginia
West Virginia workers' compensation (known also as workers' comp, work compensation, workmans compensation, and workmans comp) is a way that employees injured or sick because of their jobs can get replacement wages and medical care while they are healing. Workers' comp coverage for most employees is compulsory in West Virginia, (independent contractors may not be covered). If you have an occupational disease or may have been injured in a work accident, you must file a claim with the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner before the stated time period expires.
There are certain work compensation claims that necessitate the aid of a West Virginia workers comp attorney. If, for example, your employer does not have workmans comp insurance, does not have enough insurance, or is challenging your claim or being uncooperative, a West Virginia work compensation attorney can protect your right to workers' compensation benefits and make sure you understand the available options.
Illnesses and Injuries Covered Under West Virginia Workers' Compensation Law
Accidental Physical Injuries
- Worksite injuries caused as a result of accidents (tripping, falling, slipping, etc.) fall under work compensation insurance in West Virginia. However, accidents that occur because an employee is drunk or under the influence of drugs, or injuries that are self-inflicted, are not covered by West Virginia workmans comp insurance.
- Illnesses that are contracted in the scope and course of your occupation or as a result of toxic exposure or hazardous conditions at your job are occupational diseases and are covered by work compensation insurance in West Virginia. Examples of occupational illnesses include black lung disease, Pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, and/or hearing loss.
- If an employee dies because of his work-related injury or illness, his surviving dependents will get benefits from the deceased worker's employer's insurer.
The West Virginia Worker's Comp Claims Process
- Notify Your Boss
- Tell your boss or supervisor immediately when you have been injured. You will have 6 months to file an occupational injury or death claim, and for an occupational disease—3 years from the date of your last exposure to the condition, or 3 years from the date your physician tells you that you suffer from an occupational disease.
- Get Medical Help Promptly
- Make sure to tell the doctor examining you that your injury is related to your job.
- If you require assistance with your claim, you should hire a West Virginia workmans comp lawyer.
Benefits Received in West Virginia Under the Workers' Compensation Program
It is recommended that you talk to workers' comp counsel about your work compensation benefits in West Virginia. These benefits are available:
- Medical Treatment: All medical bills for treatment of a work-related injury or occupational disease are paid by the injured employee's boss' insurer. This includes all medical treatment the employee requires, including hospital bills, doctor bills, etc.
- Wage Reimbursement: Workers' comp claimants get reimbursement for mileage costs for travel to and from medical examinations, treatments, and physician's appointments. They are reimbursed by their employers' workmans comp insurance carrier.
- Funeral: Some funeral costs are paid under workmans compensation insurance.
- Death: When a worker dies from an occupational injury or disease, his survivors may be paid money for death benefits.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: May be available to help employees who have been permanently injured and cannot return to their old jobs, retrain for new jobs and find new jobs. Enrollment in a vocational rehabilitation plan job is also required to receive Temporary Partial Rehabilitation Disability benefits.
- Income Benefits: the following categories of benefits are possible to replace lost wages in West Virginia:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD for short): The worker is undergoing medical care for his injury and cannot work. Benefits are calculated at the rate of 66-70% of the employee's pre-injury average weekly wage.
- Temporary Partial Rehabilitation Disability Benefits (or TPRD for short): Paid when an employee cannot return to full time work, but can perform some work duties. The worker usually works part-time in a rehabilitation plan job approved by the employer's insurer. Benefits are only payable when the worker is receiving vocational rehabilitation services, and at a percentage of the difference between the employee's pre-accident wage and current wage rate.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD for short): The employee's injury renders it impossible for him to engage in any kind of employment. As with PPD benefits, the amount of the compensation depends on whether the injury is scheduled or unscheduled.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD for short): When an employee is partially impaired by his injury and the impairment reduces the worker's earning capacity. These include, for instance, the loss of a thumb or a limb.The amount of benefits paid depends on whether the injury is scheduled (depends on the injury) or unscheduled (2/3 of the worker's average weekly wage).
Why Hire A West Virginia Workers' Comp Lawyer
If you have a complicated case, an injury that causes a significant period of disability, your claim is disputed, or you just need answers to your questions, you should consult a West Virginia workers' comp attorney. A West Virginia workmans comp lawyer will have experience dealing with the policies and procedures involved in West Virginia work compensation law. Such an attorney can aid you in keeping tabs on filing deadlines and discussing your compensation alternatives and potential for recovery.
In addition, if a defective piece of equipment or product caused your injury and the manufacturer is responsible, or if a third party is implicated in your injury, a West Virginia workers' comp attorney can be useful in structuring a claim and can advise you on your best course of action.
West Virginia Code
West Virginia Code provisions involving workmans comp:
- Employers Subject To Workers' Compensation
- Workers' Compensation, Chp.23, Art.1, § 2.
- Covered Employees
- Workers' Compensation, Chp.23, Art.1, § 2.
- Workers' Compensation, Chp.23, Art.4, § 1.
- Claims Procedure
- Workers' Compensation, Chp.23, Art. 1, § 1.