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Petry v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

August 28, 2000

DAVID H. PETRY Petitioner
v.
NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF PITTSBURGH Respondent/Insurer for ECODYNE - COOLING TOWER SERVICE Employer.

          Submitted: June 7, 2000

          SUMMARY JUDGMENT ORDER AND MEMORANDUM

          MIKE McCARTER JUDGE

         Summary of Case: Claimant, who was injured May 10, 1989, seeks reimbursement for in-town mileage associated with visits to health care providers. The longest and most frequent round-trip mileage incurred by claimant is 11 miles.

         Held: Unlike subsequent statutes, section 39-71-704(1), MCA (1987), does not expressly require compensation for travel expenses associated with treatment resulting from a workplace injury. Consistent with prior decisions of the Workers' Compensation Court, the Court finds that while reimbursement for out-of-town travel is required, in-town mileage is not compensable.

         Topics:

         Constitutions, Statutes, Regulations and Rules: 39-71-704(1)(1987). Unlike subsequent statutes, section 39-71-704(1), MCA (1987) does not expressly require compensation for travel expenses. Consistent with prior decisions of the WCC, the statute is interpreted to require reimbursement for out-of-town travel, but not for in-town mileage.

         Benefits: Medical Benefits: Mileage Unlike subsequent statutes, section 39-71-704(1), MCA (1987) does not expressly require compensation for travel expenses. Consistent with prior decisions of the WCC, the statute is interpreted to require reimbursement for out-of-town travel, but not for in-town mileage.

         ¶1 The present matter is before the Court upon cross-motions for summary judgment. The following essential facts are uncontested:

1. Petitioner David H. Petry (claimant) suffered a compensable injury on May 10, 1989.
2. As a result of the injury, claimant received treatment from medical providers practicing in Kalispell, Montana.
3. Claimant is seeking reimbursement for in-town travel for such treatment.
4. The claim is exemplified by 6 pages of "Mileage Reimbursement" forms completed by claimant. These pages reflect in-town mileage between August 1998 and November 1999 for round-trips to providers. 76 trips are listed. Of these, 61 trips involved mileage of 11 miles, 2 were 10 miles, 3 were 9 miles, and 10 were only 3 miles.

(See Petitioner's December 2, 1999, letter to Workers' Compensation Court and attachments; Petition for Hearing filed February 24, 2000; Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment and Supporting Brief at 2, and Ex. 1; Petitioner's [Cross] Motion for Summary Judgment and Supporting Brief at 2.)[1]

         ¶2 The statutes in effect at the time of claimant's injury govern his entitlement to benefits. Buckman v. Montana Deaconess Hospital,224 Mont. 318, 321, 730 P.2d 380, 382 (1986). Because ...


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