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What to know about workers' compensation in West Virginia

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January 27, 2022
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This story originally appeared on Simply Business and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

What to know about workers' compensation in West Virginia

Workers’ compensation, which can provide cash and medical care to employees injured on the job, and benefits to survivors in cases of a work-related death, began with a federal program in 1908. It gave benefits to civilian workers whose jobs were hazardous and became the first kind of social insurance established across the United States.

By 1916, the rest of the federal workforce was covered. States meanwhile were enacting their workers’ compensation laws. All but six states and the District of Columbia had them by 1921.

Today, programs exist in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The details of each program vary by state. Four states—Ohio, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming—require insurance be obtained through a state-administered fund rather than through a private insurer. Another option is to self-insure for approved businesses. Most states require some businesses to provide coverage and can levy substantial fines for failing to comply. South Dakota and Texas leave the choice to businesses, although Texas makes an exception for construction companies with a government contract.

Simply Business reviewed rules, statistics, and other information about workers’ compensation insurance—including the comprehensive breakdown by the National Federation of Independent Business—to offer a breakdown of what workers’ comp requirements in each state. Rules are subject to updates periodically, so it’s important to stay up-to-date based on your trade and location.

Workers' Compensation in West Virginia

Employers are required to carry coverage, but there are exceptions, among them agricultural employees who have fewer than five workers, casual employers with fewer than three workers, and independent contractors. Also exempt are those who employ domestic workers, churches, and who are engaged in organized professional sports. Employees who run the sporting business are covered. West Virginia offers a state-administered fund. Penalties for failing to comply with coverage requirements are fines of up to $2,500 or a jail or prison term of up to 10 years.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Costs, and Coverage, an October 2021 report from the National Academy of Social Insurance, found that total benefits paid to employees rose by 0.4% nationwide from 2015 to 2019. Cash benefits rose by 2%, but medical benefits fell by 1.1%. Standardized benefits fell— cash by 14% and medical benefits by 16.7%—over the same period.

Keep reading to see what workers' compensation looks like for other states in your area.

Workers' Compensation in Kentucky

Who must provide coverage? Employers with at least one employee. But as in many other states, sole proprietors, partners, and those from a limited liability company are not included in the coverage, though they can decide to cover themselves. Some exceptions: servants in a home with fewer than two full-time workers and farmworkers. Independent contractors must have their own policy to be included in coverage. Employers that fail to provide coverage can be fined up to $1,000 a day for each employee. Kentucky offers a state-administered fund.

Workers' Compensation in Maryland

Maryland’s workers’ compensation coverage applies to all employers with at least one employee and can be obtained through the state-administered fund. The following exemptions apply: Farms with fewer than three full-time workers or an annual payroll for full-time employees that is less than $15,000. Agricultural office workers, the owner-operators of tractor trailers, and independent contractors working on farms are also exempt. Employers that do not provide insurance shall face a fine of not more than $10,000. Sole proprietors are excused from the mandate.

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