39-71-407. Liability of insurers -- limitations. (1) For workers' compensation injuries, each insurer is liable for the payment of compensation, in the manner and to the extent provided in this section, to an employee of an employer covered under plan No. 1, plan No. 2, and the state fund under plan No. 3 that it insures who receives an injury arising out of and in the course of employment or, in the case of death from the injury, to the employee's beneficiaries, if any.
(2) An injury does not arise out of and in the course of employment when the employee is:
(a) on a paid or unpaid break, is not at a worksite of the employer, and is not performing any specific tasks for the employer during the break; or
(b) engaged in a social or recreational activity, regardless of whether the employer pays for any portion of the activity. The exclusion from coverage of this subsection (2)(b) does not apply to an employee who, at the time of injury, is on paid time while participating in a social or recreational activity or whose presence at the activity is required or requested by the employer. For the purposes of this subsection (2)(b), "requested" means the employer asked the employee to assume duties for the activity so that the employee's presence is not completely voluntary and optional and the injury occurred in the performance of those duties.
(3) (a) An insurer is liable for an injury, as defined in 39-71-119, only if the injury is established by objective medical findings and if the claimant establishes that it is more probable than not that:
(i) a claimed injury has occurred; or
(ii) a claimed injury has occurred and aggravated a preexisting condition.
(b) Proof that it was medically possible that a claimed injury occurred or that the claimed injury aggravated a preexisting condition is not sufficient to establish liability.
(4) (a) An employee who suffers an injury or dies while traveling is not covered by this chapter unless:
(i) the employer furnishes the transportation or the employee receives reimbursement from the employer for costs of travel, gas, oil, or lodging as a part of the employee's benefits or employment agreement and the travel is necessitated by and on behalf of the employer as an integral part or condition of the employment; or
(ii) the travel is required by the employer as part of the employee's job duties.
(b) A payment made to an employee under a collective bargaining agreement, personnel policy manual, or employee handbook or any other document provided to the employee that is not wages but is designated as an incentive to work at a particular jobsite is not a reimbursement for the costs of travel, gas, oil, or lodging, and the employee is not covered under this chapter while traveling.
(5) Except as provided in subsection (6), an employee is not eligible for benefits otherwise payable under this chapter if the employee's use of alcohol or drugs not prescribed by a physician is the major contributing cause of the accident.
(6) (a) An employee who has received written certification, as defined in 50-46-302, from a physician for the use of marijuana for a debilitating medical condition and who is otherwise eligible for benefits payable under this chapter is subject to the limitations of subsections (6)(b) through (6)(d).
(b) An employee is not eligible for benefits otherwise payable under this chapter if the employee's use of marijuana for a debilitating medical condition, as defined in 50-46-302, is the major contributing cause of the injury or occupational disease.
(c) Nothing in this chapter may be construed to require an insurer to reimburse any person for costs associated with the use of marijuana for a debilitating medical condition, as defined in 50-46-302.
(d) In an accepted liability claim, the benefits payable under this chapter may not be increased or enhanced due to a worker's use of marijuana for a debilitating medical condition, as defined in 50-46-302. An insurer remains liable for those benefits that the worker would qualify for absent the worker's use of marijuana for a debilitating medical condition.
(7) The provisions of subsection (5) do not apply if the employer had knowledge of and failed to attempt to stop the employee's use of alcohol or drugs not prescribed by a physician. This subsection (7) does not apply to the use of marijuana for a debilitating medical condition because marijuana is not a prescribed drug.
(8) If there is no dispute that an insurer is liable for an injury but there is a liability dispute between two or more insurers, the insurer for the most recently filed claim shall pay benefits until that insurer proves that another insurer is responsible for paying benefits or until another insurer agrees to pay benefits. If it is later proven that the insurer for the most recently filed claim is not responsible for paying benefits, that insurer must receive reimbursement for benefits paid to the claimant from the insurer proven to be responsible.
(9) If a claimant who has reached maximum healing suffers a subsequent nonwork-related injury to the same part of the body, the workers' compensation insurer is not liable for any compensation or medical benefits caused by the subsequent nonwork-related injury.
(10) An employee is not eligible for benefits payable under this chapter unless the entitlement to benefits is established by objective medical findings that contain sufficient factual and historical information concerning the relationship of the worker's condition to the original injury.
(11) For occupational diseases, every employer enrolled under plan No. 1, every insurer under plan No. 2, or the state fund under plan No. 3 is liable for the payment of compensation, in the manner and to the extent provided in this chapter, to an employee of an employer covered under plan No. 1, plan No. 2, or the state fund under plan No. 3 if the employee is diagnosed with a compensable occupational disease.
(12) An insurer is liable for an occupational disease only if the occupational disease:
(a) is established by objective medical findings; and
(b) arises out of or is contracted in the course and scope of employment. An occupational disease is considered to arise out of or be contracted in the course and scope of employment if the events occurring on more than a single day or work shift are the major contributing cause of the occupational disease in relation to other factors contributing to the occupational disease.
(13) When compensation is payable for an occupational disease, the only employer liable is the employer in whose employment the employee was last injuriously exposed to the hazard of the disease.
(14) When there is more than one insurer and only one employer at the time that the employee was injuriously exposed to the hazard of the disease, the liability rests with the insurer providing coverage at the earlier of:
(a) the time that the occupational disease was first diagnosed by a health care provider; or
(b) the time that the employee knew or should have known that the condition was the result of an occupational disease.
(15) In the case of pneumoconiosis, any coal mine operator who has acquired a mine in the state or substantially all of the assets of a mine from a person who was an operator of the mine on or after December 30, 1969, is liable for and shall secure the payment of all benefits that would have been payable by that person with respect to miners previously employed in the mine if acquisition had not occurred and that person had continued to operate the mine, and the prior operator of the mine is not relieved of any liability under this section.
(16) As used in this section, "major contributing cause" means a cause that is the leading cause contributing to the result when compared to all other contributing causes.
History: En. Sec. 16, Ch. 96, L. 1915; re-en. Sec. 2911, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 2911, R.C.M. 1935; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 70, L. 1967; amd. Sec. 17, Ch. 23, L. 1975; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 550, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 92-614(1); amd. Sec. 11, Ch. 464, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 184, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 26, Ch. 619, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 243, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 435, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 103, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 20, Ch. 416, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 167, L. 2011; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 315, L. 2011.