Workers compensation form on a table.

Workers' Comp FAQs

Gerstner Adam Law Feb. 24, 2022

Almost all employers in Montana are required to carry workers’ compensation for their employees. This insurance is intended to cover any expenses that result from an illness or injury that occurs while fulfilling your job duties. This coverage is essential to both employees and employers, and there are several things you should know if you’ve found yourself with a workplace injury. If you’d like to learn more about making a workers’ comp claim or are having a difficult time getting the compensation you need, reach out to us at Gerstner Adam Law. We serve clients in Billings, Montana, and the neighboring areas of Glendive, Miles City, and Sidney.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Workers’ Compensation

Who qualifies for workers comp?

If you work for an employer who has at least one employee, they are generally required by the state to carry workers’ comp. Some exceptions do apply for domestic employees, certain family members, or some sole proprietorships and LLCs. If your employer does carry the insurance, you can file a claim for any illness or injury that is work-related. This could be due to an accident or an injury that resulted from performing your job over a long period of time. These latter types of injuries are known as “cumulative” or “repetitive stress injuries.”

How much time do I have to file?

In Montana, you have one year from the date of the injury to file a claim, or two years if you can show you weren’t aware of the injury. However, you must let your employer know about your injury within 30 days.

What if my employer retaliates against me for filing?

Employers are legally prohibited from retaliating against employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This means they cannot fire you if you have to take time off for an injury, but they can fill your position in the interim. If your employer questions the validity of your claim, they should be addressed through the Montana Department of Labor & Industry, not with you. Once you are able to return to work, you must be given preference over other applicants for either your same job or a comparable one.

Can I go to my own doctor?

Sometimes. In many cases, an employee will visit their personal physician initially, but after you’ve received approval for your claim, the insurer may have you see a different provider. They are also allowed to schedule appointments for you for check-ups or consultations to confirm details about your injury.

What if the injury was partially my fault?

Under Montana law, workers’ compensation coverage operates under a no-fault system which means you can receive benefits no matter who caused the accident. The one exception to this would be if the employee was found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident occurred.

What benefits are injured employees entitled to?

Workers’ comp covers medical expenses, lost wages, and any other long-term care costs that are associated with a workplace injury.

What if I have preexisting medical conditions?

Having a preexisting medical condition does not automatically preclude you from receiving workers’ comp benefits. However, you’ll likely need documentation of your previous conditions to prove that the new work-related injury is separate or that the new injury has somehow worsened your existing one.

Do I need an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim?

You don’t need a personal injury attorney to file a claim, but in some cases, it may be helpful. This is especially true if your initial claim was denied, if you have a preexisting condition that may complicate your case, or if you have a repetitive stress injury and have concerns about filing within the statute of limitations.

Let Gerstner Adam Law Help

No matter where you’re at with your workers’ compensation claim, we can help you through the process to ensure you’re taken care of. Call Gerstner Adam Law in Billings, Montana, today to speak with a personal injury attorney who can help.