When a Montana oil field worker is injured on the job, workers’ compensation is usually the primary source of compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits can compensate an injured worker for lost wages, permanent disability and medical benefits. This post will provide an overview of the medical benefits that are available under Montana’s workers’ compensation system.
If you are injured on the job and your employer’s insurance company has accepted your workers’ compensation claim, the insurer is obligated to pay the reasonable costs of your medical care. This includes doctor and chiropractor fees, hospital bills and prescription drug charges. The insurance company pays these charges according to a fee schedule established by law. If the amount the provider charges is greater than the amount the insurer pays under the schedule, you do not have to pay the difference.
There are some limitations under workers’ compensation as to which medical providers you can choose. Once you select a treating doctor for your first visit, the insurance company can either approve that doctor for continuing treatment, or select a different one. There are also limitations on the type of treatment that you can have. The doctor treating you must stay within treatment guidelines established by the state. Any treatment outside those guidelines may not be covered by workers’ compensation. The insurance company will only pay for generic prescription drugs if a generic version is available.
Medical benefits can be paid for up to five years after the date you were injured or received an occupational disease diagnosis. When benefits are cut off, you can request the Department of Labor and Industry to reopen your treatment. You must do so within five years of the date they were cut off.
Finally, you are entitled to reasonable mileage reimbursement for driving to doctor’s appointments.
Unfortunately the system provides many opportunities for insurance companies to deny claims or prematurely cut off treatment. If this happens, you have the right to fight the decision. An experienced Montana workers’ compensation lawyer can help get what you are legally entitled to.
Source: Montana Department of Labor & Industry, “Workers’ Compensation Benefits Summary,” accessed on Nov. 1, 2014