West Virginia Code
This article may be cited and referred to as the "West Virginia Deputy Sheriffs' Tort Liability Act."
For the purpose of this article and as used in this article:
(a) "Deputy sheriffs" or "deputies" shall have the same meaning as those terms are given in subdivision (2), subsection (a), section two, article fourteen of this chapter, and shall, when used in this article, be limited, except when specifically authorized or when the context in which used clearly requires a broader or different application and meaning, to those deputy sheriffs serving under civil service protection pursuant to the provisions of article fourteen of this chapter.
(b) "County commissions" shall mean the county commission, or tribunal in lieu thereof, in counties wherein a civil service system for deputy sheriffs is required to be in effect or wherein such system is put into effect pursuant to article fourteen of this chapter.
(c) "Professional liability insurance" means an insuring agreement wherein the insurer agrees, subject to policy agreements, exclusions, conditions and limits, to pay all sums which the insured deputy sheriff shall or may become legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury (including death) or property damages sustained by others and caused by an occurrence and arising out of such deputy sheriff's occupancy, maintenance or use of official operations or conduct in the performance of official duties.
Effective January 1, 1978, the county commission of each county wherein the provisions of this article are applicable, shall purchase a professional liability insurance policy covering all deputy sheriffs subject to this article, which policy shall provide for minimum coverage of $50,000 for each person injured or damaged in each occurrence and $100,000 total coverage for each occurrence. Every such policy shall be written on an occurrence basis only. Such policy shall be paid for out of the county General Revenue Fund. The county commission may purchase additional coverage and, as to such additional coverage, may pay all or any part of the premiums as it and its sole discretion deems appropriate or, as to such additional coverage may require contributions in whole or in part from the sheriff and from the deputy sheriffs required to be covered by such insurance. Such additional insurance may not be purchased and the premiums in whole or in part paid by such deputies except with the consent of the majority of the deputies to be covered thereby.
Any other provision of this code or rule of law to the contrary notwithstanding, on and after January 1, 1978, no sheriff shall be held jointly or severally liable on his official bond or otherwise for any act or conduct of any deputies subject to the provisions of this article committed on or after such date, except in cases where such deputy is acting in the presence of and under the direct, immediate and personal supervision of such sheriff, nor shall the county commission of a county nor the county itself be held so liable, and the liability of such sheriff, county or county commission in such cases shall be no greater than would be the liability of the superintendent of the department of public safety, or such department or the State of West Virginia under the same or substantially similar circumstances.