How and When Do I File a Benefit Claim?

Before filing a formal claim, an employee/claimant must give notice of injuries to his or her employer or the insurer within 30 days of the accident.  Actual knowledge of an accident is considered adequate notice.  The notice requirement is satisfied when an employee reports the accident within 30 days and apprises the employer, to the best of his or her ability, whether any adverse physical consequences occurred from the accident.  Generally, an employee who has a reasonable belief at the time of the accident that he or she has suffered no injury that would require treatment or is otherwise compensable is not barred from recovery because he or she learns otherwise beyond the 30-day period.

After timely and proper notice is given, an employee/claimant with a dispute concerning workers’ compensation benefits must first request mediation of the dispute with the Department of Labor and Industry.  If mediation does not resolve the dispute, the claimant can petition the workers’ compensation judge who has exclusive jurisdiction to make determinations concerning such disputes.  An appeal from a Workers’ Compensation Court goes directly to the Montana Supreme Court.  The benefits to be paid are determined by whatever statute or law was in effect on the date the worker was injured.

Claims for personal injury or death due to an accident must be presented within one year.  Claims for an occupational disease must be presented within one year from the date the claimant knew or reasonably should have known that his condition resulted from an occupational disease.