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Montana Workers' Compensation Laws

Whether you work in downtown Billings or in the heart of Glacier National Park, every Montana employee is at risk of being injured or falling ill. Fortunately, the Treasure State requires employers to purchase workers' compensation insurance. Worker's comp covers work-related injuries and occupational diseases regardless of fault, although it also prohibits an employee from filing a lawsuit against the employer in most cases. If you've suffered a work-place injury or illness here, you should learn about your rights and obligations for pursuing workers' compensation in Montana.

The table below outlines key aspects of the workers' compensation laws in Montana, including some types of benefits and important timelines.

Important Deadlines
  • 30 days to inform employer of injury (Sec. 39-71-603)
  • 1 year time limit to file claim with employer, insurer, or Department of Labor and Industry (Sec. 39-71-601)
Some Types of Benefits
  • Medical care: care reasonably required to cure or relieve employee of effects of the injury (Sec. 39-71-704)
  • Temporary total disability: compensate worker totally disabled from work for a temporary period of time (Sec. 39-71-701)
  • Temporary partial disability: benefits while employee is recovering from injury but returns to work for less compensation (Sec. 39-71-712)
  • Permanent partial disability: compensate for permanent damage and wage loss even though worker is able to return to work (Sec. 39-71-703)
  • Permanent total disability: compensate employee rendered permanently unable to work (Sec. 39-71-702)
  • Rehabilitation benefits: provided to disabled worker with permanent impairment to assist them in returning to the work force (Sec. 39-71-1003)
  • Death benefits: for surviving family members if employee dies from work-related injury or disease (Sec. 39-71-721, 39-71-725)
Employer Obligations
  • All businesses with employees are required to have workers' compensation insurance (via a private company, the Montana State Fund, or self-insurance) (with limited exceptions) (Sec. 39-71-401, 39-71-117; 39-71-118, 39-71-119);
  • Insurer may designate treating physician for employer (Sec. 39-71-1101)

What to Do After an Injury

If you've suffered a work-related injury or illness, you should seek medical treatment and inform your employer as soon as possible. Notice must be given to the employer within 30 days and should include the approximate date and location of the accident. Once you or your employer submit the mandatory First Report of Injury within one year of the accident, the insurer has 30 days to accept or deny your claim. If they accept your claim, they may designate a new physician to treat your injury or illness.

What Should I Do if My Claim Is Denied?

If your claim is denied or there is a dispute regarding benefits, you may request mediation through the Employment Relations Division. This is a confidential, non-binding meeting with an impartial mediator. If no agreement is reached, either side can file a claim with the Workers' Compensation Court. You may represent yourself during these proceedings, but an attorney can be extremely effective in arguing your case and meeting deadlines.

Injured and Overwhelmed? Receive a Free Claim Review from a Montana Attorney

Maybe you don't like the doctor chosen for you or you're not sure how to present your case in mediation. The workers' compensation process can be confusing and time-consuming. Let an attorney familiar with the workers' compensation laws in Montana provide a free claim evaluation so you can be more informed and better prepared for the process ahead.

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