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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bill Could Strip Worker’s Compensation For Failure To Disclose Medical Conditions

The Capitol dome in Helena, MT.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio
Montana Capitol dome, Helena.

Montana lawmakers heard a bill today that would add another aspect to worker’s compensation cases. Senate Bill 116 could strip employees of worker’s comp eligibility if they knowingly or willfully failed to disclose a medical condition pertinent to a job in any pre-employment questionnaires.Al Smith with the Montana Trial Lawyers Association sees the bill as chipping away at worker’s rights.

"This bill is to benefit employers, doesn’t benefit workers, it’s not about safety, it’s going to lead to more litigation," says Smith.

Terry Kramer is a builder/developer from Kalispell. He says he found out about an employee’s old back injury after the employee got hurt on the job. He says the resulting worker’s compensation insurance case substantially raised his premiums, and has affected the growth of his company.  

"It’ll take a minimum of three years before our rates will be reduced," Kramer says. "All this due to one person falsifying their employment application, and withholding information pre and post hiring."

The bill passed the Senate 33-to-17 in February.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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