ow Workers’ Compensation Works
Because of the frequency of work-related injuries, South Dakota, like all other states, has created a workers’ compensation system. This system involves a trade-off. By law, workers are entitled to compensation for work-related injuries regardless of fault – even if the injury is the worker’s own fault. However, an injured worker cannot sue his or her employer for any negligence by the employer or coworkers that caused the injury. Instead, the injured worker must pursue monetary recovery through the workers’ compensation system, which generally provides less money than a negligence claim through the civil court system. Under the workers’ compensation system, injured workers can recover for medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent disability, but cannot recover for pain and suffering.
Workers’ compensation claims are administered by the South Dakota Department of Labor. Workers’ compensation is meant to be largely self-executing, meaning that the worker, his or her employer, and the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier should be able to handle the payment of workers’ compensation benefits for the injury. Sometimes this is true, especially with minor injuries. However, South Dakota workers’ compensation law and practice becomes more complicated with the severity of the injury.
he Role of a South Dakota Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you are injured on the job, you should report your injury to your employer right away. Your employer, in turn, is required to report the injury to the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer often do not have your best interests in mind, and will seek to minimize your injuries, your treatment, and the overall cost of your claim. This is a reason to hire a workers’ compensation attorney: to help present your claim comprehensively and ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injury.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help in many other ways. Workers’ compensation can often impact and overlap with Social Security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment benefits.