The Top 5 Workers' Compensation Questions Answered

We've compiled the top questions injured workers often have after they get hurt on the job. Do any of these sound familiar?

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Posted: 09/12/2022
 Workers Compensation    Workplace Injury  

Montana requires every employer to provide their employees with workers' compensation insurance. If you are hurt at work, this coverage covers the cost of your medical treatment. It also provides wage-loss benefits while you recover. To take advantage of these benefits, injured workers must follow specific procedures required by Montana Law which can be confusing and create a lot of questions.

We've compiled a list of the top 5 questions and answers when dealing with a workers' compensation claim. Although responses may be slightly different depending on the facts of your individual claim, our workers' compensation lawyers are very experienced with Montana's workers' compensation laws and are here to discuss the facts of your case.

What is Workers' Compensation

5. How do I find out the status of my workers' compensation claim?

Once a claim is filed, the company responsible for adjusting workers' compensation claims for your employer has 30 days after receipt of a claim to render a decision. You may contact the adjusting company at any time to find out the status of your claim. If you do not know who to contact, we recommend that you call the Employment Relations Division with the Department of Labor & Industry, at (406) 444-6543, and they can tell you who is adjusting your workers' compensation claim.

Almost all workers' compensation adjusters will send you notification concerning your claim via the US postal service. Be sure to watch your mail and keep the adjusting company apprised of any change of address or contact information.

4. If my doctor has restricted me from work can I still receive my wage under a workers' compensation claim?

Under the Workers' Compensation Act, an injured employee who is medically restricted from work is entitled to Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits as provided by section 39-71-123, MCA.

TTD benefits are not equal to your actual wages. Rather, the law provides that the TTD benefits are calculated by determining your average weekly wage and then you receive 2/3rds of your average weekly wage up to a maximum rate established every year by the Department of Labor and Industry.

3. I was hurt on the job and my employer insisted I go to a specific medical clinic. Can I choose my own physician? What medical information do I have to provide my employer?

Many employers have medical clinics they refer injured employees to and some even have medical staff onsite. However, you may choose to seek your initial treatment from any provider or medical facility you prefer. If your work injury claim is accepted by an insurer, they may designate a different treating physician, or approve your choice of the treating physician.

Whomever is designated as your "treating physician" will be the main provider that the workers' compensation insurer will utilize to obtain your medical status. This provider will also routinely be asked to complete a Medical Status Form, which is typically done at every office visit.

The purpose of the Medical Status Form is to:
  • facilitate communication between a worker with a work-related injury or occupational disease, the employer, and the health care provider for Stay at Work/Return to Work options; and
  • provide necessary medical status to the insurer. This Medical Status Form is the only medical documentation that your employer is entitled to obtain.

2. Are workers' compensation benefits or a settlement of my workers' compensation claim taxable?

No. Most workers' compensation benefits are not taxable at the federal or state level. However, a portion of your workers' compensation benefits may be taxed if you also receive Social Security Disability Insurance.

1. I was injured on the job, which was reported to my employer, but I'm not sure a claim has been filed. What can I do?

Once you report a work injury to your employer, they are supposed to file a full and complete report of every on-the-job accident, injury and occupational disease within 6 days after notice. If you are uncertain your employer has filed your claim, you should contact the Employment Relations Division with the Department of Labor & Industry, at (406) 444-6543 for assistance.

If you learn that your employer did not file a claim, you should fill out a First Report of Injury form as provided by the Employment Relations Division and submit the form to both your employer and the Employment Relations Division. Do not simply assume a report of injury was filed by your employer. If you do not hear from the employer's insurance company within two weeks of the accident, follow up with the Employment Relations Division.

We're here to help you

If you have been injured at work and have questions about your workers' compensation rights, our workers' compensation lawyers have extensive experience in this space. At Odegaard Kovacich Snipes, we can advise you about your coverage and guide you through your options and opportunities. Contact us for a free consultation.

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