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RICHARD A. KUNZ vs. ELECTRIC INSURANCE COMPANY

Workers' Compensation Court of the State of Montana

Does respondent have a compensable Montana workers’ compensation claim for injury on a job in another state?

IN THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA 2018 MTWCC 2
WCC No. 2016-3719. RICHARD A. KUNZ vs. ELECTRIC INSURANCE COMPANY.

Summary: Petitioner, a Montana resident, was hired in Montana, but traveled to work at power plants throughout the United States, and one in Europe, for four to six months out of each year. Petitioner’s employer had not assigned him to any of its Montana jobs. After Petitioner was injured on a job in Texas, the person who handled claims for his employer reported his claim to its insurer as a Montana claim, filled out a Montana First Report of Injury and Occupational Disease and put it in his claims file, and told Petitioner he did not need to file a claim in Texas. Notwithstanding, Respondent denied liability on the grounds that Petitioner’s employment was not covered by the Montana Workers’ Compensation Act’s extraterritorial statute, § 39-71-402(1)(a), MCA, and on the grounds that it was not estopped from denying Petitioner’s claim because it is a Plan No. 2 insurer and the employer’s employees could not bind it.

Held: Petitioner’s claim falls under the Montana Workers’ Compensation Act’s extraterritorial statute, § 39-71-402(1)(a), MCA. Petitioner was a Montana employee who temporarily left Montana incidental to his employment and was injured in the course of his employment. Respondent is therefore liable for his claim.

Judgment: Kunz satisfied the requirements of Montana’s extraterritorial statute, § 39-71- 402(1)(a), MCA, and, therefore, has a compensable Montana workers’ compensation claim. Kunz is entitled to acceptance of liability for his claim and Electric is liable for benefits under the WCA. Kunz is entitled to his costs. Kunz is not entitled to his attorney fees. Kunz is not entitled to a penalty.

READ FULL DOCUMENT AT ORIGNAL SOURCE: http://wcc.dli.mt.gov/k/Kunz_2018MTWCC2.pdf