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Workers' Compensation FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

What is workers compensation?

A:

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.

Q:

Can I be fired while out on workers comp leave?

A:

In Montana, employees are not entitled to job-protection under workers’ compensation laws. Your employer is not required to hold your job open for you and may replace you or fire you while you’re out on workers’ comp leave. However, there is one major exception: It is illegal for your employer to fire you because of the fact that you have applied for or received workers’ comp benefits.

However, as long as your termination is for a legitimate business reason — such as your company needs to get the work done — that is legal. (Montana is the only state that requires employers to have “good cause” for firing an employee who has completed an initial probationary period.)

Q:

What should I do after an injury?

A:

If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, you should seek medical treatment and inform your employer as soon as possible. Official 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.

Q:

What should I do if my claim is denied?

A:

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.