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The Role of the South Dakota Department of Labor in Workers’ Comp Claims

Worker’s Compensation

Workers’ compensation is unique in South Dakota. Employers have the option to carry insurance, but they are not legally required to do so. Employees who are injured on the job can either request compensation through their insured employer or pursue legal action by filing a lawsuit in civil court. 

The Division of Labor and Management at the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation oversees workers’ compensation. If you have any questions or concerns about your potential benefits, speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Sioux Falls. The Alvine Law Firm is here to assist clients and help them resolve legal matters swiftly.

How Workers’ Compensation Works in South Dakota

Unlike the majority of states, South Dakota has no laws requiring employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This means that they can be held liable for medical expenses, emotional suffering, disabilities, and lost wages in court if an employee sues them.

However, many employers in South Dakota still carry coverage to avoid lawsuits. They can file claims on their employees’ behalf through the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulations. This process is straightforward and can be completed online using the First Report of Injury Management System.

The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation’s Role in Workers’ Compensation 

The Division of Labor and Management oversees workers’ compensation claims, but it does not directly determine benefits. It is responsible for offering guidance, facilitating dispute resolution, conducting hearings, and enforcing South Dakota workers’ compensation laws.

The Department of Labor and Management outlines the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers regarding workers’ compensation. The employee is required to notify their employer of their injury in writing within three (3) days. Failure to do so can threaten your right to benefits. 

Employers must file a First Report of Injury (Form 101) with the Department of Labor and Regulations within seven (7) days, excluding Sundays and holidays, of receiving notice of the injury. 

The insurance company will have 20 days to investigate the claim, and they may request an additional 30 days if necessary. Typically, employees will receive benefits within four to five weeks once approved.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits in South Dakota 

The exact amount of benefits an employee receives is determined by the employer’s insurance provider. However, there are codified laws that dictate what amount of compensation injured workers are entitled to. Title 62, Chapter 4, covers compensation for injury or death, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Hospitalization bills
  • Surgery costs 
  • Repair or replacement of damaged prosthetic devices
  • Repair or replacement of damaged dentures, hearing aids, eyeglasses, eyeglass frames, or contact lenses 

You have the right to secure your own physician, surgeon, and medical care. Employers are legally required to provide first aid, medical attention, surgical and hospital services, and other suitable or proper care for workplace injuries (Codified Law 62-4-1).  

Disability benefits for temporary or permanent disabilities are also covered by workers’ compensation. They can cover medical expenses and lost wages due to the injury and may further cover vocational retraining or rehabilitation. 

For families of workers who die from a work-related injury, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance can provide survivor benefits.

Do I Have to Return to Work After an Injury?

In South Dakota, employees whose physicians say they can work part-time or with modifications must return to work to qualify for workers’ compensation. If you earn less than you were prior to your injury, then you may qualify for temporary disability benefits. 

It’s important to note that the total compensation and workers’ benefits combined cannot be less than the amount of total disability benefits unless an employee refuses employment.

While this information is laid out by the Department of Labor and Regulation, the Division of Labor and Management notes it does not constitute legal advice. When it comes to getting the most accurate information, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney who can help.

Alvine Law Firm helps clients facing all types of workers’ compensation injuries understand their rights and recover any damages they are entitled to. You can contact us at 605-275-0808 to schedule a free consultation. 

Filing Workers’ Compensation in South Dakota 

After you notify your employer of your injury, they must complete Form 101, or First Report of Injury. They can do this online or mail it to the Department of Labor and Regulations. 

The employee is not responsible for completing this form. They must, however, provide a written report of their injury. While you are allowed to choose your own medical practitioner, you must notify your employer of your selection before treatment or as soon as you can reasonably do so after treatment.

After providing a written notification to your employer, they are responsible for filing a workers’ compensation claim. They must also file temporary disability benefits if your medical practitioner determines you are unable to return to work within seven (7) calendar days following your accident.

The Claims Review Process 

The employer’s insurance company performs an investigation to determine eligibility for benefits and benefit amounts. However, the Division of Labor and Management can serve as a mediator if the employer and employee disagree on the employee’s entitlement to workers’ compensation.

A facilitator from the department can help both parties reach an agreement. If they are unable to, then they can file a petition for a hearing and meet with an administrative judge. The judge will review the circumstances of the case to determine eligibility for benefits. 

The Department of Labor and Regulations can also investigate reports of non-compliant employers. However, if you feel like your injury has been mishandled by your employer, consulting with a lawyer is advisable.

The Alvine Law Firm in Sioux Falls, SD, offers comprehensive legal support for all types of workers’ compensation injuries. We are skilled in both court cases and negotiation to help our clients achieve the best outcomes.

Schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer. 

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