No one goes to work expecting to be injured. Yet, that is exactly what happens to a large of number of Montana residents each year. As a result, these injured workers are forced to miss out on their opportunity to earn a wage at a time when their medical care and rehabilitation needs are extensive. This can be a stressful time in their lives. After all, no one wants to face financial instability, especially as they are trying to cope with the physical and emotional pain and suffering associated with a workplace injury.
Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to someone who suffers an on-the-job injury. What, exactly, do workers’ compensation benefits entail? Workers’ compensation can include medical benefits meant to pay for treating your injuries as well as lost wages. The exact amount that can be recovered depends on the extent of your injury and whether it is deemed a partial or total disability and whether that disability is temporary or permanent.
Under Montana law, this type of workers’ compensation benefit is only available to you if your medical provider deems you unable to work on account of your medical condition. If your doctor deems you unable to work, then you can recover up to two-thirds of your gross wage, but that benefit is not to exceed $849 per week.
Your benefit rate may decrease based on your ability to work, though. For example, if your doctor determines that your medical condition has improved to the point that you can work on a limited basis and with certain restrictions, then you might be able to recover partial wage benefits. Generally speaking, these benefits will be the difference between the wage you earned prior to the onset of your workplace injury or illness and your current wage.
Whether you qualify for wage benefit and, if so, for how long, really depends on your medical condition. This means that the fate of your workers’ compensation benefits could lie in the hands of the medical professional who is evaluating you. You’ll need to be reevaluated periodically, too, even after you have successfully recovered workers’ compensation benefits. If you dispute a medical professional’s determination, then you might want to seek another opinion or attempt to mediate resolution with your employer and its insurance company.
Medical costs, including those related to hospitalization, doctor office visits, and prescription medication, can be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to note, though, that these costs must be reasonable. Therefore, you are probably not going to receive benefits to pay for costly experimental treatment or surgeries that are deemed unnecessary. Even if the cost of your medical care exceeds what the insurance company pays, you won’t be required to pay the outstanding bill. So long as your condition persists, these medical benefits can be received for up to five years. If, after that five-year period, you still need medical care for your workplace injury or illness, then you can seek to have your claimed reopened for the purpose of seeking those additional benefits.
Again, your ability to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for your medical care is dependent upon a medical professional’s findings as far as how your injury or illness affects your ability to work. So, during every step of the workers’ compensation process you should be prepared with ample documentation to support how your condition affects your ability to function in the workplace.
Workers’ compensation benefits can provide you with a real financial lifeline in a time of need. However, securing the benefits is not as easy as it may seem. In fact, many initial claims are denied, and those who are fortunate to secure workers’ compensation benefits may have them threatened by an unfavorable medical report. This is why many injured workers in Montana turn to skilled legal professionals who can help them fight throughout the process for what they deserve.