Limitations Periods: Claim Filing: Generally

Kratovil v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [09/07/07] 2007 MTWCC 38 The one-year statute of limitations is an affirmative defense. This Court has held that an insurer can waive a statute of limitations defense either expressly or by not pleading it. Where Respondent did not set forth the statute of limitations defense as a contention in either its Response to Petition for Hearing or in the Pretrial Order, Respondent waived this affirmative defense.
State Fund v. Carl Murray [4/6/04] 2004 MTWCC 33 Under the 1999 version of the Montana Occupational Disease Act, the period for filing a written claim for compensation does not commence running until the claimant is aware that his medical condition is attributable to his work. 39-72-403, MCA (1999-2003). Affirmed Montana State Fund v. Murray, 2005 MT 97
Scozzari v. MSGIA [2/17/04] 2004 MTWCC 7 Failure to file a claim within one year, as required by section 39-71-601(1), MCA (1999), is an absolute defense to a claim for benefits unless the one-year period is waived.
Maddalena v. Indemnity Ins. [2/27/03] 2003 MTWCC 14 Unless a waiver is granted, a claim for compensation is barred unless filed within one year of the industrial injury. 39-71-601, MCA (1999).

Lako v. ERD/UEF [10/25/02] 2002 MTWCC 53 The one-year claim filing requirement, 39-71-601(1), MCA (1983-1993), applies to claims with the Uninsured Employers' Fund since "all appropriate provisions" of the Workers' Compensation Act apply to UEF claims. 39-71-505, MCA (1977-2001). (Note: this decision was affirmed at Lako v. ERD/UEF, 2004 MT 290, 323 Mont. 334, 100 P.3d 142. Affirmed.)

Aaby v. MMIA [11/5/01] 2001 MTWCC 57 Insurer moved for summary judgment against minor daughter and ex-wife of decedent, arguing neither filed claim for death benefits within a year of the decedent's death pursuant to section 39-71-601, MCA (1993). The motion regarding the daughter is denied where no guardian or guardian ad litem was appointed to represent her interests until this year. Under Randall James Simons-Tollefson v. State Compensation Insurance Fund, 2000 MTWCC 7, no one is authorized to bring a claim for death benefits on behalf of a minor child until a guardian or guardian ad litem is appointed for that purpose and the statute does not begin to run until appointment. The Court does not reach the merits of the summary judgment motion against the ex-wife where the insurer has also moved for default against her, which motion must first be resolved after notice and hearing.
Baxter v. UEF [9/20/00] 2000 MTWCC 65 Accident Information Sheet completed by injured worker when seeking medical care immediately following injury and forwarded to employer contained adequate information under section 39-71-601, MCA (1995) and its submission to employer satisfied statutory requirement that within one year claim be "presented in writing to the employer, the insurer, or the department, as the case may be." Court refuses to read into statute any requirement that employee present claim to department rather than employer in cases where employer is not insured.
Kelly v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. [8/22/00] 2000 MTWCC 50 Although section 39-71-601(1), MCA (1999), requires a claimant to file a WC claim within 12 months of injury, the section is a statute of limitations and affirmative defense which must be asserted by the insurer. Where the injury occurred in the course and scope of employment, an injured workers' decision not to file a claim does not take the injury outside the workers' compensation system.
McGuin v. State Fund [12/16/99] 1999 MTWCC 82 Claimant who did not realize until years later that incident occurring during 1986 diving training resulted in serious ear problems was not barred by his failure to file a claim within one year of the incident. Because he was unaware of his condition or that it arose during the work incident, he filed a timely claim within one year of the diagnosis of his condition.
Phillips v. Liberty NW Ins. Corp. [10/9/98] 1998 MTWCC 71 Credible evidence makes it more probable than not that claimant did not file claim for back injury within one year of the alleged accident. Supervisor and safety inspector who would have received report credibly testified they had no knowledge of the alleged incident and did not complete or receive a claim relating to the incident. The medical history claimant gave to medical providers indicates he did seek treatment around the time at issue, but failed to mention any particular injury, rather indicating a gradual onset and giving other descriptions inconsistent with the present claim.
Kastens v. State Fund [5/13/98] 1998 MTWCC 41 1991 statute applies to claim for occupational disease benefits where that was statute in effect when claimant was diagnosed with an occupational disease. The Supreme Court has previously held that any statute shortening the time for filing a civil action is not applicable to causes arising prior to the enactment unless expressly so indicated by the legislature. See, Penrod v. Hoskinson, 170 Mont. 277, 552 P.2d 325 (1976).
Partin v. State Fund [3/14/97 ] 1997 MTWCC 11 WCC reversed conclusion of DOL hearing officer that Association of Service Contractors (AOSC) accident report allegedly filed by claimant did not satisfy the written claim requirement of section 39-71-601, MCA (1991). Contention that an official workers' compensation claim form must be filed was rejected in Weigand v. Anderson-Meyer Drilling Co., 232 Mont. 390, 393, 758 P.2d 260, 261-262 (1988), where the Supreme Court held the written claim must only contain sufficient information to inform the employer or insurer of the nature and basis of the possible claim and to enable it to investigate the claim and, if necessary, to prepare a defense.
Estrada v. State Fund [2/6/97] 1997 MTWCC 4 Section 39-71-601, MCA (1993) does not require the claimant to correctly identify, at his peril, the proper insurer or proper jurisdiction in order to perfect his claim. The principal purpose of the section is to provide the employer with sufficient information to enable it to investigate the claim and, if necessary, prepare any defenses it may have.
Estrada v. State Fund [1/14/97] 1997 MTWCC 4A Claimant, an Oregon resident employed by an Oregon corporation, was injured in an automobile accident in Montana. Insurer moved to dismiss where claimant submitted a claim to his employer, and for Oregon workers' compensation benefits, within a year following the accident, but did not submit a claim to a Montana insurer until more than one year following the accident. Motion denied because section 39-71-601, MCA (1993) provides that within one year of an industrial accident the claimant must submit a signed claim "to the employer, the insurer, or the department." By using the word "or," the statute permits the claimant to submit a timely claim to any of the entities listed.

McNeese v. State Compensation Ins. Fund [05/05/95] 1995 MTWCC 33 Failure of employer to file a workers’ compensation claim for claimant is not grounds to extent the one-year claim filing requirement of section 39-71-603, MCA (1989). As stated in Grenz v. Fire & Casualty of Connecticut, 260 Mont. 60, 65 (1993), the “employer has no duty to pursue the employee’s claim for him.”