South Dakota workers' compensation claims process

How Does South Dakota Workers’ Comp Work?

Important: We updated this article in October 2022 so all information listed below is current and accurate. Workers’ compensation coverage protects employees and employers when a workplace accident or occupational illness occurs. South Dakota worker’s comp claims for all non-federal employees are handled by the state’s Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR).

We’ve pulled together the information you need to file a South Dakota workers’ compensation claim.



Who’s Covered Under the South Dakota Workers’ Compensation Law?

All employees are covered under the South Dakota workers’ compensation law except:

  • Domestic workers paid for fewer than 20 hours per calendar week or less than six weeks in any 13-week period.
  • Farm or agricultural workers.
  • State or federal employees as well as certain elected officials.
  • Real estate brokers and truck owner-operators already certified as exempt by the Department of Labor and Regulation.

Pro Tip: Workers’ compensation rules are different for independent contractors. Click here to learn more.  

Related: Tennessee Workers’ Compensation: How to File Your Claim

How Do I File a South Dakota Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The most important part of the claims process is to get medical treatment as soon as possible. Then, notify your supervisor within three business days of seeing a healthcare provider. Waiting any longer may forfeit your rights to make a workers’ comp claim.

Once you’ve notified your employer, the process works like for most people, though every case is different, so your process may vary:

  1. Your employer has seven days to submit a First Report of Injury form with the DLR. They should also notify the company’s insurer. Pro Tip: If your employer refuses to file your claim, contact DLR directly at (605) 773-3681 and request a mediator.
  2. The company’s insurance company must review your claim within 20 days of receiving notice of your workplace illness or injury. The insurer may request a 30-day extension in order to investigate your claim.
  3. If your claim’s accepted, you could start receiving benefits about 4 or 5 weeks after the DLR received notification.
  4. If your claim’s denied, you can request a mediation conference call from the DLR form by dialing (605) 773-3681. Workers with preexisting conditions are most likely to be denied.
  5. If mediation fails, you have two years from the denial notification date to file a petition for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. Pro Tip: The DLR recommends hiring an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to represent you.

For more information, download the Employee’s Guide to the Workers’ Compensation System.

What Are the South Dakota Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Approved claims for South Dakota workers’ compensation automatically cover all necessary medical treatments and other associated costs, including doctor bills, prescriptions, and other medical expenses. You also receive reimbursement for any travel, meals, and lodging required to receive treatment.

You may qualify for disability benefits under the South Dakota workers’ compensation law if your illness or injury keeps you out of work for seven workdays in a row. Payments depend on the extent of your workplace injury or illness.

Temporary Partial Disability pays a weekly benefit when your illness or injury limits you to working part-time. Permanent Partial Disability provides a set payment amount based on your specific injury or impairment, based on information from the healthcare provider treating you.

Permanent Total Disability pays weekly benefits for life only if your illness or on-the-job injury leaves you totally disabled and unable to work. If you can return to work, Temporary Total Disability pays a weekly benefit equal to two-thirds of your usual earnings up to the state-mandated maximum of $975 per week.

Get more details on workers’ compensation benefits.

Do I Qualify for Legal Assistance?

When you’re dealing with a work-related illness or injury, navigating the South Dakota workers’ compensation system can make you feel even worse. You may want to hire an experienced attorney to ease the burden and help you get the maximum benefits faster. Your lawyer can negotiate with insurers, help you gather medical evidence to support your claim, and represent you at hearings.

Pro Tip: Workers’ comp attorneys typically work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay a fee unless you win benefits. If your case is successful, then you only pay a reasonable, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Margot Lester

Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.