SB537 AMT HJUD 4-8 #1

"A Bill to repeal §23-5-17 and §23-5-18 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §23-2-1d of said code; to amend and reenact §23-2A-1 of said code; to amend and reenact §23-2C-8, §23-2C-15, §23-2C-17 and §23-2C-21 of said code; to amend and reenact §23-4-1c, §23-4-6b, §23-4-8, §23-4-8c and §23- 4-15b of said code; to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §23-4-8d; to amend and reenact §23-5-1, §23-5- 3 and §23-5-16 of said code; and to amend and reenact §33-2-22 of said code, all relating to workers' compensation; eliminating obsolete sunset provisions; redefining the responsibility of prime contractors to injured employees of their subcontractors; clarifying subrogation rights with respect to employees injured by third parties; authorizing negotiation of amount to accept as subrogation in old fund claims; deleting mandatory recovery fee to insurance commissioner in certain subrogation claims; providing for a unitary decision-making process in claims involving the Uninsured Employer Fund; changing date on which governmental bodies may purchase workers' compensation insurance in the private market and on which the employers' mutual insurance company may non-renew such bodies; awarding attorney fees and costs if workers' compensation temporary disability benefits claim is unreasonably denied; extending the scope of permissible remedies to include those in the general insurance code; permitting the recovery of administrative costs in certain actions; authorizing expedited review by the Office of Judges when a request to reopen temporary total benefits is denied; eliminating mandatory allocation in hearing loss claims; providing that claims for medical benefits in occupational pneumoconiosis claims may be made at any time; clarifying that a sixty-day period applies to various protests; extending the jurisdiction of the Office of Judges to hear certain protests; clarifying permissible method of delivering payment of benefits; establishing reimbursement for certain claimant travel expenses; authorizing award of attorney fees in certain final settlements; clarifying licensing requirements for third-party administrators; mandating conditional payments in certain instances; authorizing the Insurance Commissioner to compromise and settle claims for moneys due the Old Fund and Uninsured Employer Fund; and requiring report to Legislature regarding settlements."