39-72-102 MCA

Dvorak v. Montana State Fund [10/23/12] 2012 MTWCC 36 In the year prior to the repeal of the Occupational Disease Act, the language of § 39-72-102(10), MCA (2003), differed from the language subsequently codified in § 39-71-116(20), MCA (2005), only by breaking the sentences into subparts.  The Court therefore held that cases which were decided under the ODA may remain applicable for occupational disease cases which fall under the WCA since the ODA’s repeal.

Lanes v. Montana State Fund [09/10/07] 2007 MTWCC 39 Aches and pains alone do not constitute an occupational disease. In order to constitute “harm” or “damage” as contemplated by the definition of “occupational disease” in § 39-72-102, MCA, something more significant, such as a condition requiring medical diagnosis and treatment, must be present. Mack v. Montana State Fund, 2005 MTWCC 48, ¶ 18 (citations omitted). While Petitioner’s treating physician opined that walking on different surfaces while performing his job duties aggravated Petitioner’s knee condition, he further opined that this aggravation was only temporary additional pain. Therefore the Court concludes that these job duties did not significantly aggravate or contribute to Petitioner’s right knee condition.

[1999] Harger v. Montana Contractor Compensation Fund [12/26/03] 2003 MTWCC 72 Where claimant asserts that physical harm arose over a single work shift, his claim arises under the Workers' Compensation Act, not the Occupational Disease Act. 39-71-119(2)(d) and 39-72-102(10), MCA (1999).

[1999] Hanks v. Liberty Northwest [3/22/02] 2002 MTWCC 19 A single incident on a single day which aggravates or makes symptomatic an underlying non-occupational disease is an injury and not an occupational disease. An occupational disease requires that the harm be caused by events occurring on more than one day. 39-71-119, 39-72-102 (1), and 39-72-102(10), MCA (1999). [Affirmed in Hanks v. Liberty Northwest 2002 MT 334.]

[1993] Oswald v. Horizon CMS Healthcare Corp. [12/5/02] 2002 MTCC 62 While the Court was persuaded the former nurse's aide who was exposed to bodily fluids and blood of patients, frequently with open cuts on her hands and not wearing gloves, acquired Hepatitis C through contact with a patient's blood or bodily fluids, her occupational disease claim is denied where uncontroverted medical evidence established Hepatitis C is acquired through a single exposure.
[1997] Liberty Mutual v. Griner [11/09/01] 2001 MTWCC 58 Heavy labor, which over a period of time causes harm, constitutes an occupational disease.
[1995] Corcoran v. Montana Schools Group Ins. Authority [5/23/00] 2000 MTWCC 30 Under section 39-72-403, MCA (1995), which requires a written claim within one year from the date "the claimant knew or should have known that the claimant's condition resulted from an occupational disease," awareness of pain, and awareness that the pain is a result of work, does not constitute knowledge that one suffers from an "occupational disease," as defined in section 39-72-102(10), MCA (1995-1999). The key words in section 39-72-102(10), MCA, are "harm" and "damage," meaning something more significant than suffering pain after a hard days' work. The limitations period commences when the worker has some specific knowledge of a specific pathological condition stemming from employment and requiring diagnosis or treatment.
Smart v. State Compensation Ins. Fund [10/31/95] 1995 MTWCC 83 Where occupational disease claimant is physically able to perform jobs which are typically available and for which he is qualified, he is not entitled to benefits under section 39-72-701(1), MCA (1991) and is limited to the maximum $10,000 payment authorized by section 39-72-405, MCA (1991). Affirmed in Smart v. State Compensation Mutual Ins. Fund, 227 Mont. 89 (1996) (No. 95-532), but note that later decisions of the Montana Supreme Court may entitle an occupational disease claimant to the same permanent partial disability benefits available under the Workers’ Compensation Act. See, Stavenjord v. Montana State Fund, 2003 MT 67.