Worker's compensation is the compensation paid to a worker for on the job injuries, or the compensation paid to the worker's beneficiaries if the worker should die while on the job or from job-related injuries. In Montana, worker's compensation is mandatory. Employers must buy special insurance through a state fund, private carrier or other means, but they must carry this insurance that would make those payments in the event of a worker's injury or death.
If the injured employee has managed health insurance at the time of his or her injury, it's required that he or she choose a physician covered under that health plan. If the employee is uninsured, then he or she can choose which physician to see for the duration of treatment. But if the employee doesn't choose a physician or a hospital or other organization that's covered under the insurer's PPO plan, then he or she will have to pay 20% of the cost of each visit, up to $10 each, and $25 for each emergency room visit to an institution not covered under the insurer's PPO.
Under worker's compensation laws in Montana, the worker's wage is used to determine the amount of benefits paid weekly during the time the employee cannot work because of injury. Permanent total disability and permanent partial disability are two classifications eligible for weekly payments. Payments for permanent total disability will continue as long as the employee is unable to work, until that employee becomes eligible for other benefits like Social Security retirement benefits. Permanent partial disability payments will end after 350 weeks, maximum.
A employee's physical rehabilitation services are covered, and he or she may be eligible for coverage of vocational rehabilitation benefits, too. Any injury resulting in serious disfigurement of the head, neck and face may make the employee eligible for certain benefits. And under certain circumstances in which the employee meets specific requirements and filing deadlines, he or she may be able to draw worker's compensation for occupational hearing loss.
While the amount of compensation a worker can receive is based on a percentage of his or her wages, these amounts are subject to a maximum monthly payment that cannot be exceeded, regardless of the employee's income. For a Montana worker injured in 2008, the maximum weekly benefit allowed for permanent total disability is $573. For permanent partial disability, the maximum payment is $286.50.