Workers Compensation in South Dakota

You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by South Dakota state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of South Dakota workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.

Workers Compensation Statistics in South Dakota?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common types of work-related injuries are overexertion, falls, and equipment injuries. In South Dakota, transportation injuries result in the most work-related fatalities. The industries with the most injuries in South Dakota are agriculture, forestry, hunting, and fishing. Other industries with high rates of injury are construction and private transportation. In addition, injured employees are not required to prove that the employer was a fault, only that the injury was sustained in the course of employment. Mental injuries can be covered if they were caused by a covered physical injury. However, there must be clear and convincing proof that the physical injury was a major contributing cause of the mental injury.

How Does Workers Comp Work in South Dakota?

There is a standard practice to follow when going through the South Dakota workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss. 

The Department of Labor Regulation for South Dakota does not require employers to carry workers compensation insurance, but they can be sued for damages if they are not insured. Workers compensation laws do not apply to independent contractors or to farm workers not operating large machinery. In South Dakota, coverage is provided for medical care, death benefits, and some travel costs. If the employee will miss more than seven days of work, lost wages are paid at 66% of regular wages, up to a maximum of $597 per week.

The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in South Dakota are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.

Get Medical Attention

After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a South Dakota healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.

Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.

When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.

File a First Report of Injury

Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how South Dakota workers comp works.

The South Dakota Legislature requires injured employees to provide written notice of the injury to their employer within three days. The employer then has seven days to report the injury to their insurance carrier. If coverage is fully or partially denied, the employee can file a petition for a hearing. The petition must be filed within two years of the denial.

The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report  with the report of injury.

Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point. Mainly about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. 

South Dakota does not limit the length of time that medical benefits can be paid, or the total amount. Moreover, partial and total disability benefits are paid for the term of the disability. If the end of the term is in dispute, the injured employee has three years from the date of the last payment to file for additional benefits.

Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In learning how South Dakota workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a South Dakota workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in South Dakota

Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across South Dakota state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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