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West Virginia Workers' Compensation Laws

West Virginians enjoy their time living among the Appalachian Mountains and driving through scenic highways. Breathtaking views of mountains and lakes certainly make West Virginia a state of tranquil, natural beauty. Imagine that while you're living the peaceful life in West Virginia, you get into an accident at work one day, and you're unable to get back to to your job because of your injuries. What should you do? What right do you have to compensation? Read on to learn about West Virginia workers' compensation laws and its procedure to obtain benefits for your injuries.

What Is Workers' Compensation?

"Workers' compensation" is a form of employer insurance that provides benefits to injured employees. Every state has its own workers' compensation laws and system of handling the insurance coverage and claims. In West Virginia, employers with at least three employees are required by law to maintain workers' compensation insurance coverage. The Offices of Insurance Commissioner of West Virginia handles the rules of practice and procedure regarding workers' compensation in West Virginia.

Types of Injuries Covered in West Virginia

West Virginia allows you to recover benefits regardless of who was at fault. To receive the benefits, the work-related injury or occupational illness must have happened while you were on the job or doing something in the course of employment. However, if you were intoxicated or using drugs at the time of your injury, or if your injury was self-inflicted, you won't be able to receive benefits under your employer's workers' compensation insurance.

Employees who develop occupational diseases in the course of and resulting from employment are also entitled to workers' compensation as well. Some examples of occupational illnesses are:

  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Black lung disease
  • Asbestosis

Workers' Compensation in West Virginia

Here is a table of important aspects of West Virginia workers' compensation laws, including the deadline form filing a claim and the types of benefits:

Important Deadline

  • All injury or illness claims must be filed within 6 months from the date of the injury or illness

Types of Benefits

  • Medical Benefits: compensation for medical services that are necessary to help you recover from your work injury
  • Temporary Total Disability Benefits: if you are unable to work while you recover, you are entitled to receive weekly benefits of 66.67 percent of your average weekly wage prior to the injury
    • Limited to 104 weeks' worth of wages
  • Temporary Partial Rehabilitation Disability Benefits: when you can do some work while you recover from your work injury or occupational illness, you may get lost wage payments at a percentage of the difference between your pre- and post- injury or illness wages
    • You must obtain vocational rehabilitation services
  • Permanent Partial Disability Benefits: compensation for loss of use of a body part or any other impairment that reduce your potential earning capacity
  • Permanent Total Disability Benefits: compensation for indefinite, permanent disability because it is impossible for you to find work

What Can I Do If My Claim Was Denied?

After you receive the result of your claim from the Offices of Insurance Commissioner or a private carrier, whichever is applicable, you can appeal the decision if you don't agree to it.

  • File a written protest with the Workers' Compensation Office of Judges. If you disagree with any decision made by the Offices of Insurance Commissioner or the private carrier, whichever is applicable, you have the right to file a written protest with the Workers' Compensation Office of Judges. A written protest must be received within 60 days from the day you receive the decision. For your protest to be considered, send your written protest to the Office of Judges, your employer, and the Offices of Insurance Commissioner or the private carrier, whichever is applicable.
  • Make an appeal to the appeal board. After an administrative law judge made a decision, you can make an appeal of that decision as long as you file an appeal within 30 days of receipt of notice of the administrative law judge's final action.
  • Final decisions of board to supreme court of appeals. If any party does not agree with the decision of the appeal board, the party can make an appeal to supreme court of appeals as long as the party files within 30 days of the appeal board decision.

Workers' Comp Claim Denied? A West Virginia Attorney Can Help

While learning the basics of workers' compensation laws may be easy, making a successful claim and handling a case can be complicated. If your claim was denied or you've failed to receive compensation, you may need professional help from an experienced West Virginia accident attorney

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