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Montana workers’ compensation law

Nearly every Montana employer is required to provide its employees with workers’ compensation insurance.

Who needs workers' compensation insurance in Montana?

The state of Montana imposes stringent workers' compensation rules on employers doing business there. Unless otherwise excluded, employers with employees are required to provide insurance. This applies to all full-time, part-time, seasonal, or occasional employees.

Which Montana employees are exempt from workers’ comp coverage?

Certain employees are exempt from having workers’ comp insurance, including:

  • Household or domestic workers (applies to those who do house cleaning and yard work, but not home healthcare or domiciliary care)
  • Casual employees (those not part of an employer’s usual business). However, part-time, short-term, or occasional employees who perform core activities are not exempt.
  • Anyone working for aid or sustenance only
  • Amateur athletic officials (timers, referees, umpires, or judges)
  • Professional athletes playing football, hockey, roller derby, rugby, lacrosse, wrestling, or boxing
  • Real estate, securities, or insurance salespeople (must be paid solely by commission with no minimum compensation)
  • Door-to-door sellers of home products
  • Newspaper carriers (must acknowledge no coverage in writing)
  • Freelance writers paid by each written piece (must acknowledge no coverage in writing)
  • Licensed barbers or cosmetologists working via contract with a cosmetology firm
  • Land professionals in the petroleum industry
  • Horse racing employees (licensed trainers, exercise or pony persons) working on the grounds of a licensed horse race
  • Licensed horse jockeys (must acknowledge no coverage in writing)
  • Officers or managers in a private or nonprofit irrigation company or other water-related entity (cooperatives, corporations, associations, or other organizations)
  • Ministers of a church or member of a religious order
  • Anyone providing companionship or respite care and being paid by the disabled person’s family member or guardian
  • Volunteers (except those in air search and rescue working for the Montana Department of Transportation or in local law enforcement or fire departments)
  • Truck drivers, or anyone working for a freight broker as an intrastate or interstate contract motor carrier
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Do Montana business owners need to be included in workers’ compensation coverage?

Under the regulations of the Montana Workers’ Compensation Regulation Bureau, the following owner types are exempt from workers’ comp coverage:

  • Sole proprietors
  • Partners
  • LLC members
  • Corporate officers

However, all of the above may purchase it should they find coverage beneficial.

Family members who work as employees of sole proprietors and partners are exempt as long as the business owner claims them on a federal tax return.

Are independent contractors required to have workers’ comp coverage in Montana?

Before hiring an independent contractor in Montana, an employer must check to see if the person has either a state-issued IC Exemption Certificate from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry or proof of having workers’ compensation insurance.

Without this documentation, the business owner may be held financially responsible for any injuries an independent contractor suffers on the job.

How does workers’ comp work in Montana?

Montana business owners can compare quotes and purchase a policy from private insurance companies. (Insureon offers this service with its online insurance marketplace.)

If your firm’s high-risk status makes it impossible to purchase workers’ comp insurance through the voluntary market mentioned above, you can purchase coverage from the Montana State Fund.

The final way to secure workers’ compensation insurance is to self-insure your workers’ comp claims. This means your company will pay for its own workers’ comp claims rather than submit them to an insurance company.

To become self-insured (generally limited to large firms), you must first secure permission from the Montana Workers’ Compensation Regulation Bureau.

What is the average cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Montana?

The estimated workers’ comp expense for Montana employers is $2.12 per $100 in covered payroll, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance [PDF].

What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp insurance in Montana?

If you fail to comply with Montana’s workers’ comp laws, you may be forced to pay double the amount of what you would have paid for insurance. The minimum such penalty is $200, but if the uninsured period is lengthy, the penalty amount can be substantial.

Workers’ compensation death benefits in Montana 

If one of your employees dies as a result of a workplace injury or occupational disease, the Montana Workers’ Compensation Act requires that death benefits be paid to beneficiaries. Additional information can be obtained from the Montana State Fund.

Workers’ comp settlements in Montana

A workers’ compensation settlement is an agreement between the injured employee, employer, and insurer that resolves a workers’ compensation claim. This benefits both the employee and the employer.

In Montana, many workers’ comp claims end in settlements. This means the parties involved in the case must agree on a lump-sum payment amount. In exchange, the employee (or the employee’s survivors) must agree to the insurer stopping future benefit payments.

Employees who wish to enter into an agreement to take a lump-sum payment in lieu of future benefits must file an application with the Workers’ Compensation Court. If a settlement can’t be reached, employers and employees must first engage in mediation before requesting a hearing with Montana’s Workers’ Compensation Court.

Workers’ compensation statute of limitations in Montana

In Montana, employees must file a workers’ comp claim within one year from the injury / illness date or within two years if the employee can prove not knowing about the injury.

Compare free workers’ comp quotes with Insureon

If you are ready to explore workers’ comp insurance options for your Montana business, start a free online application today to compare quotes from multiple carriers.

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