West Virginia Worker’s Compensation- Fast Facts
Filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim in West Virginia:

In an emergency you should seek immediate medical attention; all states allow a worker to go to any doctor in the event of an emergency.  Your employer should provide you with workers’ compensation forms and may also direct you to their medical provider if it is a non-emergency.  By promptly notifying your employer of an injury this may help protect your rights as well, later it may act as proof that the injury happened at work if you have to fight it.

If your employer has a medical provider you may be required to use your employer’s doctor.  You should be told which doctor to see when you report your injury.   If not, you may choose your own doctor.  Some states allow for a second opinion if you are required to see an employer referred doctor as well as seeing the doctor of your choice after a specified number of days after the injury.

To ensure that your medical costs are covered you should promptly return to your employer any forms you were given by your employer or by the doctor.  Some states may have a set number of days in which the claim must be filed as well.  If your employer does not fight your claim they will give you the rest of the information that you need to process your claim.

Worker’s compensation programs may pay for any rehabilitation, job training, disability income or other non-medical costs associated with your injury.  Make sure that you are aware of what your state requires and that your employer provides you with all of the payments you are entitled to.

Consult with a lawyer if your case is complex, if it is a serious injury, or if your company refuses to acknowledge that you have a claim or takes retaliatory action against you.  Employers are not allowed to fire, transfer or demote an employee who files a claim.  Most worker’s compensation claims are brought through a state administrative agency and not the court system.  If you are planning on filing a claim you should look to hire an attorney who is experienced in the administrative procedures

West Virginia Worker’s Compensation Treatment:
Workers are entitled to compensation for common job related injuries such as falls, illnesses due to long term exposure to chemicals and other harmful products, as well as injuries incurred during job related travel or social functions.  If your employer is attempting to coerce you into not filing a claim, or is fighting your claim you should see an attorney immediately.  If you agree to not file a claim in return for some immediate compensation you may be jeopardizing future benefits due to the injury.  To protect your right to a full recovery from any work related injury you should contact an attorney.

Attorney Fees Permitted: Attorney fees limited to 20% of claimant's or dependent's award, 208 week limit, statute

West Virginia Worker’s Compensation Benefits:
Workers' compensation entitles an employee to all reasonable and necessary medical care related to the injury. The benefits available to workers include permanent or temporary total disability, permanent or temporary partial disability, and medical and related expenses. Benefits include visits to an approved health care provider, surgery, hospital care, dental or orthodontic treatment, prescription drugs, and medical supplies ordered by an approved physician. An employer cannot be made to pay for emotional distress, such as pain and suffering.

An injured employee also may be entitled to payment for lost wages. An employee also is entitled to lost wages benefits if he or she is able to work, but has suffered a permanent loss of a bodily function as a result of the injury. Benefit amounts are determined by set state guidelines and can be as high as two-thirds of a worker's salary at the time of the injury.

Injured employees unable to return to work may be entitled to rehabilitation and training provided by the Division of Workers' Compensation, Bureau of Rehabilitation and Medical Services. The employer or insurance carrier also may provide these services voluntarily. In addition, the Bureau of Rehabilitation and Medical Services offers reemployment services to injured workers, such as help in finding a job, writing resumes, vocational testing, and counseling. As an incentive for employers to hire workers unable to return to regular work, the state's Preferred Worker Program reimburses employers the cost of a disabled employee's workers' compensation insurance premium for up to three years.

If an employee dies as result of a work-related injury, the employee's dependents--spouse, children, or dependent parents--are entitled to death benefits of up to $100,000, with certain limitations.

Choice of Physician: Employee makes the initial choice of physician.

West Virginia Worker’s Compensation Waiting Period:
The waiting period for compensation benefits after the injury is 3 days.

Compensation is retroactive if disability continues for more than 7 days.

West Virginia Worker’s Compensation Contact Information:
Jane L. Cline, Insurance Commissioner
Offices of the Insurance Commission
1124 Smith Street
P.O. Box 50540
Charleston, WV 25301-0540
(304) 558-3386  (304) 558-3386 or  1-888-879-9842  1-888-879-9842

NOTICE: These questions and answers concern West Virginia law only, and should not be construed nor relied upon as reflecting the law in other States, nor as giving legal advice. You are warned that circumstances often vary greatly and that, due to changing decisions and law, the answers to these questions may change over time and not be current, and you should consult an attorney in any specific case, and NOT rely on these questions and answers as giving anything other than general information.

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