South Dakota Workers Compensation Laws

There are specific provisions under South Dakota workers compensation laws that protect employees when they get injured or suffer from illness at the workplace. The occupational injury insurance program is managed by the state’s Bureau of Personnel. The bureau also provides assistance to both employers and employees in understanding and using their rights and options. Following are some of the very basic aspects of the occupational injury laws in South Dakota, which you must be well aware of.

Insurance Requirements For Employers

Though certain waivers are permitted in specific cases, in general, all employers must carry adequate amount of insurance coverage as required under the South Dakota workers compensation laws. Employers have the option either to buy this coverage from a private insurance carrier or to get self-insured. There are certain basic requirements that employers must fulfill in order to get self-insured; for example, they must submit certain documents to prove that they are financially capable enough to meet the compensation requirements as and when needed.

Waiting Period

An injured worker becomes entitled to monetary benefits under occupational injury compensation program only if the disability caused by the injuries continues for at least seven days. If the employee is fit enough to return to work within less than seven days from the date of the accident, no compensation will be paid to them. But, it is also very important to note that the compensation becomes retroactive if the disability caused by the accidents stays for seven consecutive days. In that case, the South Dakota workers compensation laws require employers to pay monetary benefits to the injured worker from the 8th day but the amount of the benefits must be calculated right form the very first day.

Workers Can Choose Their Own Physician

Unlike the laws in the majority of other states that allow employers to make the initial choice of physician for the treatment of the injuries suffered by workers, South Dakota laws provide this right to employees. It means workers are free to get treatment from a doctor of their own choice when they suffer from occupational injuries or illnesses. But, employers also have an option to ask the worker to get re-examined, especially if they find the medical reports submitted by the doctor chosen by the worker suspicious.

The South Dakota workers compensation laws have also imposed certain restrictions on the amount of fees lawyers can charge for handling such cases. As per the laws, the attorney must work on a contingent fee basis and should charge a certain percentage of the total amount received as compensation as their commission. The commission charged by South Dakota workers compensation lawyers must not exceed 35% for State Supreme Court cases, 30% for lower court cases, and 25% for settlements.