West Virginia Workers Compensation Laws

Since the year 2000, a lot of changes have been introduced into West Virginia workers compensation laws in order to make the insurance program much stronger to protect the rights and interest of the workers against occupational injuries and illnesses. Though it is legally mandatory for all employers to carry adequate insurance coverage, there are a few employers who are still exempted from this requirement, such as an agricultural employer with less than five workers and a casual employer with less than three workers.

Maximum Attorney Fee

Like the laws in many other states, West Virginia workers compensation laws have also restricted the maximum amount of money an attorney can charge for handling these types of cases. The attorneys must work on a contingency fee basis. It means they must not charge their fee upfront. They should first help you win the compensation. They should charge their commission or fee only after you receive the compensation benefits. Their fee must not be more than 20% of the total amount of compensation issued to you.

Waiting Period

The laws also impose a three days of waiting period, which means an injured worker will be able to claim for compensation only if the disability caused by the work-related injuries continues for over three days. If you are fully recovered and are able to return to work within less than three days from the date of the accident, no compensation will be issued to you. However, West Virginia workers compensation laws provide you an option to challenge the certificate of fitness issued by the doctor. At the same time, it is also important for you to keep in mind that if you are unable to return to work for over a week because of the disability caused by the injuries, the compensation will be retroactive. It means, after seven days, the employer will be liable to make payments for the first three days also.

As far as the selection of the physician is concerned, the laws have provided this right to employee. Injured workers are free to choose their own doctor for the treatment, at least initially. At the same time, West Virginia workers compensation laws also provide an option to the employer to challenge the medical reports submitted by the physician chosen by the injured worker.