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DEBBRA SMITH vs. MONTANA STATE FUND

Workers' Compensation Court of the State of Montana

Is Petitioner’s claim for benefits time-barred?

IN THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA 2017 MTWCC 13
WCC No. 2017-4009. DEBBRA SMITH Petitioner vs. MONTANA STATE FUND Respondent/Insurer.

Summary: Respondent moves for summary judgment, arguing: (1) that Petitioner’s claim for TTD or PTD benefits is time-barred; (2) that, in the alternative, she does not have sufficient evidence to prove that she is totally disabled as a result of her claim-related injuries; and (3) that her medical benefits are closed because Petitioner did not use them for 60 consecutive months. Petitioner opposes the motion on the grounds: (1) that she filed her Petition for Hearing within the statute of limitations; (2) that her head and neck problems are a result of claim-related injuries and have deteriorated to the point that she is now unable to work; and (3) that her medical benefits remain open because Petitioner received treatment during the relevant 60-month period.

Held: Respondent’s motion for summary judgment is granted because Petitioner’s claim for TTD or PTD benefits is time-barred under the two-year statute of limitations set forth in § 39-71-2905(2), MCA. Because the issue of Petitioner’s entitlement to TTD or PTD benefits is disposed of on statute of limitations grounds, this Court does not reach whether there is an issue of material fact as to her substantive entitlement to those benefits. Further, because Petitioner has neither asserted a claim for medical benefits in her Petition for Hearing, nor mediated that issue, this Court currently lacks jurisdiction to consider whether her medical benefits are closed.

Judgment: State Fund’s motion for summary judgment is granted.

READ FULL DOCUMENT AT ORIGNAL SOURCE: http://wcc.dli.mt.gov/s/Smith_2017MTWCC13.pdf