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South Dakota Workers' Compensation Laws

If you have a special appreciation for wide open spaces, fresh air, and beautiful sunsets, you might be from South Dakota. And whether you work on a vast farm on the west side, or in a corporate office on the east side, every South Dakota employee is at risk for work-related injuries and illnesses.

For this reason, many employers in the state carry workers' compensation insurance, which provides benefits like wage replacement and medical treatment to employees who are injured or fall ill because of their work. In turn, the employee gives up the right to file a lawsuit against the employer and is limited to the specified benefits. If you've been injured in the Mount Rushmore State, you should know your rights and responsibilities for filing a workers' compensation claim.

The table below outlines significant parts of South Dakota's workers' compensation laws, including employee benefits and important timelines.

Important Deadlines
  • 3 days to give written notice of work-related injury to employer (Sec. 62-7-10);
  • 2 years to file a petition for hearing (Sec. 62-7-35)
Some Types of Benefits
  • Health care: coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical care; some travel expenses if necessary to obtain medical treatment (Sec. 62-4-1)
  • Wage loss: payments equal to a percentage of wages lost as a result of temporary or permanent disability, subject to weekly maximums and minimums (Sec. 62-4-2 et seq.)
  • Education/retraining: benefits to help you alternative employment if you cannot return to your previous job (Sec. 62-4-5.1)
  • Death benefits: payments to surviving dependent(s) and up to $10,000 in burial expenses if employee dies from work-related injury or illness (Sec. 62-4-8 et. seq., 62-4-16)
Employer Rights & Obligations
  • All employers are presumed to have accepted workers' compensation requirements, with limited exceptions (Sec. 62-3-3 et seq.)
  • Must submit First Report of Injury to insurance carrier within 7 days of notice of the injury (Sec. 62-6-2)

What Does Worker' Comp Cover?

In South Dakota, employers must have workers' comp insurance, approval for self-insurance, or be subject to civil liability for a much wider range of damages. Almost anyone hired to perform services is considered an employee under the state's workers' comp laws, but there are exceptions, including farm laborers and independent contractors. Additionally, the injury must be work-related, and medical evidence is often necessary to show that your job caused the injury. Furthermore, while injuries are covered regardless of fault, compensation may be denied if the injury was the result of intoxication, illegal drug use, or willful misconduct.

Hurt on the Job? Report Your Injury

After an accident, you should seek medical attention and notify your supervisor of the injury (or illness) within three business days. You have the initial right to choose your doctor, but you must notify your employer of the selection. After being notified of the injury, your employer must send a First Report of Injury to their insurance carrier within seven days. If your employer refuses to send the report, you should contact the Division of Labor & Management directly.

What if My Claim Is Denied or Challenged?

If there is a dispute between you and your employer or the insurance company, you may request mediation with the Division of Labor and Management. If the dispute is not resolved at the mediation or you decide against mediation, you may file a petition for a formal hearing in front of an administrative law judge within two years of your claim denial. You may represent yourself during this process, but an attorney can be instrumental in meeting deadlines, gathering evidence, and defending your rights against the insurance company's attorneys.

Get Legal Help With Your South Dakota Workers' Comp Claim

It's bad enough that you've been injured on the job, but now you have to slog through the process of pursuing workers' compensation to help pay your bills. Learn more about the process and your potential benefits by reaching out to an experienced injury attorney familiar with South Dakota's workers' compensation laws.

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