Workers Compensation in West Virginia
You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by West Virginia state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of West Virginia workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in West Virginia?
West Virginia joins a handful of states that do not provide workplace injury data, but we can consider independent studies. The American Journal of Industrial Medicine reported that 16 out of every 100 logging workers experienced nonfatal injuries. West Virginia University published in 2005 that forests were 78% of the land and contributed more than $4 billion to the states economy. If that was the case back then, it might shock you to know that the U.S. Bureau of Statistics reports an average rate of 5.5 out of every 100 forest workers reported injuries or illnesses in 2019.
How Does Workers Comp Work in West Virginia?
There is a standard practice to follow when going through the West Virginia workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss.
Every business operating in West Virginia must have workers’ compensation insurance. However, some exemptions exist. Your employer does not have to carry a policy for an agricultural worker, a temporary employee for the state, or a domestic servant. After your claim receives approval, the state pays 66% of your average earnings based on the last year. You will also receive medical benefits and compensation for attorney fees are available to beneficiaries.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in West Virginia are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.
Get Medical Attention
After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a West Virginia healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.
Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.
When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File a First Report of Injury
Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how West Virginia workers comp works.
While most states give injured employees two to five years to file a workers’ compensation claim, you only have six months in West Virginia. Seek medical attention right away and notify your employer as soon as possible. They must then complete an Employers’ Report of Occupational Injury or Disease report within five days of your notification. The cap on what you may receive in weekly payments after approval is $536 for up to 104 weeks.
The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report with the report of injury.
Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. West Virginia law says that people who file for workers’ compensation must wait three days before collecting cash benefits from the state. If you are still out of work due to an injury or illness after a week, you will receive compensation for that lost time.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
In learning how West Virginia workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a West Virginia workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in West Virginia
Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across West Virginia state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!