West Virginia workers’ comp 101
Are West Virginia small business owners required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance?
For many West Virginia residents, opening a small business is something they’ve dreamed about for years. The good news is that small business ventures account for nearly 98.8% of all companies in the state of West Virginia.
So, if you’re planning on joining the thousands of entrepreneurs in the state, you’ll want to ensure you have everything necessary for success. For instance, before launching the business, it’s a good idea to research whether your state requires special licenses or permits to operate. Another essential item you’ll want to consider is small business insurance.
Generally, most states require companies to maintain coverages such as commercial auto insurance and general liability. However, if you plan on hiring employees, you’ll also need to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
This coverage is a mandatory requirement for any West Virginia business with at least three full-time employees and offers protection for workplace injuries.
If you haven’t owned a business before or aren’t familiar with how workers’ compensation insurance works, the following tips will help you get acquainted with the coverage.
10 essential workers’ comp facts for West Virginia small businesses
- In West Virginia, workers’ compensation offers protection for employees and provides benefits if a workplace accident leaves them unable to work for an extended period
- Workers’ compensation insurance offers several key benefits to injured employees, including:
- Wage replacement
- Initial and ongoing medical expenses
- Disability benefits
- Death benefits
- Independent contractors and sole proprietors do not need to maintain workers’ comp insurance if they are the only employee of the business
- While most West Virginia businesses are required to have workers’ comp, employees in the following categories don’t need coverage:
- Church employees
- Volunteer employees
- Employees currently receiving benefits from the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
- Domestic service employees
- Small business owners who fail to keep an active workers’ comp policy could face fines totaling up to $25,000
- In the event that an employee dies as a result of a workplace accident, workers’ comp will pay death benefits to the surviving dependents
- Employees must file a workers’ compensation claim within six months of the injury, or they could face potentially losing benefits
- The cost of workers’ compensation in West Virginia can be affected by any of the following:
- Total payroll amount
- Business class codes
- Past claims
- Employers must file an incident report within five days of learning about an employee’s injury
- Injured employees have the option of taking a lump sum payout referred to as a workers’ compensation settlement
Remember, every situation is different. West Virginia workers’ compensation laws are subject to change, so be sure to do your research and speak with a trusted advisor.
Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As laws change regularly, refer to your state legislation and/or an advisor for specific legal counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about the basics of workers’ comp or check your current rate in 3 minutes.