State News : West Virginia

NWCDN is a network of law firms dedicated to protecting employers in workers’ compensation claims.

NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.  

Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.

Contact information for NWCDN members is also located on the state specific links in the event you have additional questions or your company is seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in your state.

West Virginia



Several bills of interest 

are advancing in the Committee process in the West Virginia Senate and House related to Workers’ Compensation. With the exception of the bills related to presumptions of compensability in firefighters for named diseases, the bills do not have much momentum at this time. Please contact me if you want a copy of a proposed bill or would like additional information.

Senate Bill 597 grants twenty weeks (or 5% permanent partial disability) awards of worker's compensation benefits to claimants with no measurable pulmonary impairment from occupational pneumoconiosis (OP). Additionally, claimants with an x-ray diagnosis of pulmonary massive fibrosis or complicated pneumoconiosis without measurable impairment would be granted a 25% permanent partial disability award. The OIC’s Fiscal Note Memorandum states that the additional benefits are likely to significantly increase the expenses and could cause a deficit for the Worker's Compensation Old Fund and create adverse claims development in the other funds administered by the OIC with exposure to OP claims. The increased benefits are likely to raise private insurance carrier worker's compensation insurance premium rates for employers in industries where exposure to OP exists. Senate Bill 597 is also likely to significantly increase the worker's compensation expense for self-insured employers in the coal industry. As drafted, Senate Bill 597 appears to be retroactive and would effectively restore the presumptive 5% OP award for both past (July 1, 2003 forward) and future OP claims. Additionally, it is unclear if the 5% presumptive award is to be granted in addition to the 25% award for those diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis or complicated pneumoconiosis, or if those two awards are mutually exclusive.

Senate Bill 286 would extend the time within which a claimant may obtain an evaluation from the Occupational Pneumoconiosis Board. In its Fiscal Note Memorandum, the OIC stated it is unable to estimate the fiscal impact of SB 286. The OIC does not have data regarding any OP claim applicants being denied a hearing before the OP Board due to time limitations exceeding three years or due to the lack of an impairment diagnosis. The OIC believes that SB 286 would increase the expenses of the OIC, but the OIC is unable to quantify the increased expenses accurately at this time. The OIC funds the costs of the OP Board and any increase in the number of examinations undertaken by the OP Board would increase the expense of the OIC.


House Bill 4283 would create a new program and new Fund called the West Virginia Black Lung Program, which would create entitlement benefits and a presumptive award for those benefits for occupational pneumoconiosis. In its Fiscal Note to this proposed bill, the OIC stated it is unable to estimate all of the potential cost to the State for HB 4283. The OIC did note some technical issues with HB 4283. West Virginia Code §23-4D-2 grants the presumptive benefit to anyone who has worked in WV for a period of 10 years during the 15 years immediately preceding the Date of Last Exposure. The language in the proposed bill does not limit the exposure to coal dust, so any type of minute dust particle would appear to qualify. The language in the proposed bill does not limit the benefits to WV residents, but would be available to anyone who has worked in WV for the above specified period of employment. The benefit to be granted is a fixed amount and is to be paid in addition to any state or federal disability award. The bill appears to be retroactive in nature. HB 4283 creates a new general revenue fund, but does not clearly identify who is to administer the Fund. The OIC noted the State Tax Department should be consulted regarding the increased severance taxes and the creation of the new taxes on energy producing activities.


HB 4687 which would repeal the law making prime contractors liable for the failure of subcontractors to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. The OIC’s Fiscal Note predicted HB 4687, if enacted, would have a significant impact on the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF). Present law provides that if a subcontractor is neither self-insured, nor covered by a workers' compensation insurance policy, then the prime contractor rather than the state's UEF is responsible for payment of statutory workers’ compensation benefits: provided, that receipt of the prime contractor of a certificate of coverage from a subcontractor shall be deemed to relieve the prime contractor of responsibility regarding the subcontractor's workers' compensation coverage. The OIC stated in its Fiscal Note that it has not had to issue an assessment in order to raise funds for the UEF since its creation in 2006. However, in the event that additional funding is needed, the OIC has the statutory authority to issue an assessment to private insurance carriers, which may be passed on to employers through a policy surcharge, as well as to self-insured employers to raise the necessary funding for the UEF.


HB 5244 relates to portable benefit plans for independent contractors. It creates a new State Portable Benefit Fund to provide portable benefit plans that individuals can purchase. A benefit plan would be assigned to an independent contractor and would not be associated with the hiring party. The statute has language that a hiring party can contribute to these plans but the contribution would not be construed as an element of an employment relationship for purposes of determining workers’ compensation coverage.


SB 170 expands coverages related to professional firefighters and a rebuttable presumption to include bladder cancer, mesothelioma, and testicular cancer to join leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma previously passed by statute. The purpose of this bill is to include three types of cancer for which rebuttable presumption of injury from employment exists for firefighters and provides that the presumption for the three types of cancer expires July 1, 2027, unless extended by the Legislature.


HB 4216 reaffirms and enhances the workers compensation exclusive remedy rule or doctrine and would repeal the deliberate intent statute in its entirety.

For the mining industry members, eight bills not included on the attached Legislative Monitor Report have been introduced to authorize the Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training (WVMHST) to promulgate legislative rules for a variety of safety issues including substance abuse screening, standards and procedures. The bills were referred to the Judiciary Committee on 1/19/24.


  • HB 4090: Authorizing the WVMHST to promulgate a legislative rule relating to safety provisions for clearing crews

  • HB 4091: Authorizing the WVMHST to promulgate a legislative rule relating to protective clothing and equipment

  • HB 4092: Authorizing the WVMHST to promulgate a legislative rule relating to reporting requirements for independent contractors

  • HB 4093: Authorizing the WVMHST to promulgate a legislative rule relating to assessing health and safety violation penalties

  • HB 4094: Authorizing the WVMHST to promulgate a legislative rule relating to the application

  • HB 4095: Authorizing the WVMHST to promulgate a legislative rule relating to governing the program for the sharing of information between employers

  • HB 4096: Authorizing the WVMHST to promulgate a legislative rule relating to substance abuse screening, standards and procedures

  • HB 4097: Authorizing the WVMHST to promulgate a legislative rule relating to operating diesel equipment in underground mines in West Virginia


Dill Battle, Executive Secretary

West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Association


o 304-340-3823

m 304-206-1986