Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Workers' Comp Changes Face Challenge in West Virginia

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Workers' Comp Changes Face Challenge in West Virginia

Article excerpt

Legislative changes made to West Virginia's workers' compensation law (S.B. 2013), which took effect July 1, are already facing a challenge before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

"Although this case involves just one claimant, it directly impacts S.B. 2013 as a whole and all claims awarded after July 1," said Gregory A. Burton, executive director of the Workers' Compensation Commission. "Our actuaries estimate the potential impact of an adverse ruling in this case at more than $1 billion overall because of the precedent it would set for other, similar cases."

A petition was filed in September on behalf of Charles Thompson, a roof bolter for U.S. Steel Mining Co. The Workers' Compensation Division, which was at the time part of the state Bureau of Employment Programs, granted Thompson a permanent partial disability (PPD) award in an order dated July 24, at a rate based on the new legislation.

"The basic dispute in this case is what law applies to Mr. Thompson's claim: the law in effect at the time he was injured or the law in effect when he was given an award," Burton explained. …

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