Workers Compensation in Montana

You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by Montana state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Montana workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.

Workers Compensation Statistics in Montana?

Montana’s Department of Labor & Industry reports the major industries with the highest rates of non-fatal injuries and illnesses were manufacturing, accommodations & food service, in addition to construction. In fact, the most hazardous major occupation categories were construction & extraction, as well as transportation & material moving. Construction laborer was the most injured occupation, followed by nursing assistant. The top three causes of non-fatal injuries in Montana were overexertion, contact with objects or equipment, and falls.

How Does Workers Comp Work in Montana?

There is a standard practice to follow when going through the Montana workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss. 

Montana’s Department of Labor & Industry stipulates employers with one or more employees must have workers’ compensation coverage. However, there are employee exceptions such as domestic workers. If the employer is uninsured, an employee can still seek benefits from Montana’s Uninsured Employers Fund. Regardless of fault, injured workers can receive medical benefits, and temporary and permanent disability benefits. You have the right to choose your initial treating doctor. However, once your claim is accepted, the adjuster can select a different doctor.

The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Montana are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.

Get Medical Attention

After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a Montana healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.

Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.

When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.

File a First Report of Injury

Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how Montana workers comp works.

In Montana, you must inform your employer of your injury within 30 days of the accident. You must also submit a signed First Report of Injury within 12 months from the date of the accident. To claim an occupational disease, you must submit this report within one year from the date you knew or should have known your illness resulted from work. Upon receipt, the insurer has 30 days to accept or deny your claim.

The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report  with the report of injury.

Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. 

Montana’s Department of Labor & Industry cites disability benefits equal to 66 ⅔% of gross wages, with a maximum of $849 a week. However, no compensation may be paid for the first 32 hours or 4 days of wage loss, whichever is less. You are eligible for payment starting with the 33rd hour or 5th day of wage loss. If you are unable to work for 21 days or longer, compensation may be paid retroactively to the first day of total wage loss.

Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In learning how Montana workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a Montana workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in Montana

Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Montana state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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