Fundamentals of Montana Work Comp for Injured Workers
How Do I File a Work Comp Claim in Montana?
It is very common for people to become lost quickly in the work comp system. You've just suffered an injury at work, you're hurt and you are thinking about medical treatment, missing work and bills. It's a lot to sort through. It's important to get your claim started the right way.
So how does the actual filing process work? What are the things that will keep you from doing it right?
Here's what you need:
(1) A claim form - it's called a First Report of Injury (FROI). This is a standard form that you file that contains information about how, when and where you were hurt at work. You need to have those details as well as know when and who from your employer you told. YOU MUST TELL A SUPERVISOR OR BOSS!
It helps if you know your wage information from your last four paychecks but you can add that information later. The rest of the information is basic contact information for you, your doctor and your employer.
The most important part is tell your boss or supervisor within 30 days. You also need to make sure that you give the same details about your injury as you gave to the doctor when you told him or her about your injury.
(2) What if your employer won't give you a claim form? Your employer CANNOT stop you from filing a claim. The employer does NOT get to decide if you should file a claim or not, whether you have a legitimate claim or not and it is illegal for them to retaliate against you for filing the claim.
If your employer won't give you a claim form, you can contact the insurance company directly. The employer is required to post a notice in an easy to see place telling you who the insurance company is and how to file a claim. Call the insurer and ask to file a claim.
If that information is not available, you can call the Montana Department of Labor and Industry at (406) 444-6543 and get a claim form. You can also go online and get a claim form from their website (ERD). The Montana Work Comp Solutions Legal Sources page also has a direct link to the First Report of Injury by clicking here >> FROI.
If everything else fails, you can write a letter including all of the details of who, when and how you were hurt at work and send it to the insurance company or Montana Department of Labor and Industry.
(3) Then What? Once your claim is filed, the adjuster has 30 days to make a decision. If they don't, you are free to file for mediation and eventually court.
(4) What if my employer doesn't have work comp? Montana employers are required by law to have workers' compensation insurance. If you learn they don't, contact the Montana Department of Labor and Industry at (406) 444-6543.
You have 1 year to file the actual claim but only 30 days to tell your employer. If you miss those dates, don't give up -- call an attorney. Sometimes those time periods can be extended based on the facts of your claim.