§23-2-8. Liability of employer electing not to pay or defaulting in payment of premiums; certain common-law defenses prohibited; exceptions.

All employers required by this chapter to subscribe to and pay premiums into the workers' compensation fund, except the state of West Virginia, the governmental agencies or departments created by it, and municipalities and political subdivisions of the state, and who do not subscribe to and pay premiums into the workers' compensation fund as required by this chapter and have not elected to pay individually and directly or from benefit funds compensation and expenses to injured employees or fatally injured employees' dependents under the provisions of section nine of this article, or having so subscribed or elected, shall be in default in the payment of same, or not having otherwise fully complied with the provisions of section five or section nine of this article, shall be liable to their employees (within the meaning of this article) for all damages suffered by reason of personal injuries sustained in the course of employment caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of the employer or any of the employer's officers, agents or employees while acting within the scope of their employment and in the course of their employment and also to the personal representatives of such employees where death results from such personal injuries, and in any action by any such employee or personal representative thereof, such defendant shall not avail himself of the following common-law defenses: The defense of the fellow-servant rule; the defense of the assumption of risk; or the defense of contributory negligence; and further shall not avail himself of any defense that the negligence in question was that of someone whose duties are prescribed by statute: Provided, That such provision depriving a defendant employer of certain common-law defenses under the circumstances therein set forth shall not apply to an action brought against a county court, board of education, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state or against any employer not required to cover his employees under the provisions of this chapter.