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Navigating the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process in South Dakota

Worker’s Compensation

If you have been injured in the workplace, your mind should be on making a full recovery — not worrying about medical bills and lost wages. While workers’ compensation isn’t legally required in South Dakota, many employers still opt to carry insurance to protect their employees and avoid lawsuits. 

A South Dakota personal injury lawyer like the team at Alvine Law Firm can help you get the best outcome for your case. With decades of experience, we handle all types of workers’ compensation cases with the utmost professionalism. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Understanding South Dakota’s Workers’ Compensation Program 

Unlike many other states, South Dakota does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This means that if an employee is injured on the job, they may have to take legal action to recover medical expenses and lost wages.

If an employer does carry workers’ compensation insurance, then they can file a claim on their employees’ behalf through the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation’s Division of Labor and Management.

Employers must file a Form 101, or First Report of Injury, within seven (7) days of an employee’s injury. They must file this claim in order to reimburse or have their insurance provider reimbursed the employee medical expenses or lost wages.

Workers’ Compensation Definition 

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that allows employers to reimburse employees for medical expenses or lost wages due to work-related injuries, illness, or disabilities. Workers’ compensation can also provide death benefits to family members of people who lose their lives to workplace fatalities.

While the primary focus of workers’ compensation is to help employees recover costs of medical bills, it may also provide long term payment for disabilities, as well as the cost of rehabilitation and retraining to return to the workforce. 

The fact that South Dakota does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance means that some employees find themselves in a challenging situation after they are injured on the job. They may have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover damages rather than simply having their employer submit a claim. If their employer does carry insurance, then the process of recovering damages is relatively straightforward. 

However, some employees feel that they have been unfairly denied benefits or that the benefits they are being awarded are not appropriate for the extent of their injury. In either case, you can consult with an experienced attorney from the alpine law firm in Sioux Falls and Mitchell, SD. We would be happy to discuss your case with you and help you in any way we can. Please call us at 605-275-0808 to request a free consultation with one of our lawyers

Injuries and Illnesses Covered by Workers’ Compensation in South Dakota 

Title 62 in South Dakota’s Codified Laws outline workers’ compensation benefits and eligibility throughout the state. There are many types of accidents and illnesses covered, ranging from minor injuries to permanent disabilities. These include: 

  • Acute injuries such as cuts or gashes
  • Torn muscles or ligaments
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Slip-and-fall injuries
  • Head trauma
  • Transportation accidents
  • Repetitive stress or overuse injuries 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome 
  • Tendonitis 
  • Occupational illnesses and diseases
  • Intoxication from hazardous materials 
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Burns
  • Hearing loss 
  • Temporary or permanent disabilities 

After being injured or fallen ill due to occupational hazards, many people are unsure how to file workers compensation. Working with an experienced attorney can help you navigate the process as easily as possible. The Alvine Law Firm attorneys specialize in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases, and they would be happy to help you build a strong case to support your recovery and well-being. Request a free consultation with one of our lawyers. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation in South Dakota? 

The statute of limitations on a work-related injury is two (2) years from the date of the incident. Employers are required to submit a First Report of Injury to the Division of Labor and Management within the first seven (7) days of learning about the injury. 

To secure the best outcome, it’s advisable to let your supervisor know about your injury as soon as possible. They are legally required to provide appropriate medical care, whether that be first aid, ambulatory services, or even hospitalization coverage (Codified Law 62-4-43). 

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation in South Dakota 

Employees can cover expenses for nearly any type of work-related accident in South Dakota. There are a few exceptions, including injuries that take place off the property or after work hours, incidents that occur under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and injuries sustained due to an employee’s negligence, such as mishandling equipment or not following safety protocols. Furthermore, self-inflicted injuries do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in South Dakota. 

There are also some job exemptions for workers’ compensation. Agricultural laborers and domestic servants are not eligible to recover damages from workers’ compensation unless they work at least 20 hours per calendar week for at least six weeks in any given 13-week period. Exempt independent contractors are also unable to collect workers’ compensation benefits. 

If you have any questions about your eligibility in South Dakota, we can help. Our team handles all types of workers’ compensation cases and will be able to discuss your unique circumstances in a free consultation. 

The Claims Process Step-by-Step 

The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be straightforward for those whose employers carry coverage:

  • Notify your employer of your injury.
  • Provide documentation, such as medical records and bills. 
  • Your employer or their insurance provider submits a First Report of Injury (Form 101) to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulations. 
  • The claim is reviewed by an internal team in the Division of Labor and Management as well as the insurance provider. 
  • If approved, funds will be paid to the employee within 50 days.

The insurance company has 20 days to perform an investigation after they are notified about the workplace injury. They may request an additional 30 days if needed. It typically takes four to five weeks for an employee to receive benefits if the employer requests it directly, but the exact timeframe can vary.

To prioritize your recovery, consider contacting an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Sioux Falls or Mitchell, SD. Our team can work on your behalf to ensure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to. 

What Happens If Your Claim Is Denied

You will have two (2) years to file a petition to a hearing if your workers’ compensation claim is denied. The sooner you act, the better. This gives you adequate time to gather evidence and bring a strong case in front of an administrative judge. 


If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may have to take legal action to recover lost wages and medical expenses after an injury. You can work with a lawyer to navigate the legal system with confidence and ensure you file in a timely manner.

The Alvine Law Firm serves clients in Sioux Falls, Mitchell, and surrounding areas of South Dakota. Please contact us today at 605-275-0808 to request a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. 


Workers’ Compensation Employee Rights and Responsibilities | South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulations 

Workers’ Compensation Overview | South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulations

Worker Rights and Protections | Occupational Safety and Health Administration 

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