How much time do I have to file a workers' compensation claim?

It depends. Montana law distinguishes between an industrial injury and an occupational disease. An industrial injury is defined as an incident that occurs during a single work shift. In contrast, an occupational disease occurs over more than one work shift. A claimant has different deadlines depending upon whether the injury occurred over a single work shift or more than one work shift. If you have suffered an injury that occurred during a single shift it is an industrial injury and the deadline for reporting the injury is under Section 39-71-603, MCA Under Section 39-71-603, MCA, a claimant must notify his or her employer of a workplace injury within 30 days of the incident.

Under 39-71-601, MCA, a claimant must file a written claim with either the Department of Labor and Industry, the employer, or the insurer within 12 months of the incident. This time limit is extended to 24 months if the claimant can establish lack of knowledge of disability, latent injury; or equitable estoppel.

If your injuries occurred over more than a single shift, you have suffered an occupational disease. As such, the 30-day reporting period does not apply.