Workers' Compensation

Author: Russ Janklow

The state of South Dakota has complex laws when it comes to legal matters involving workers’ compensation. However, by law, all employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to full, and part-time employees, beginning on the employee’s first day of work and at no cost to the employee.

Workplace injuries can be devastating. Whether you fell on the job, were injured by a piece of equipment or obtained a occupational illness due to a chemical agent, the uncertainty of medical bills, potential lost wages and long-term disability, or health conditions, can be of great concern. Fortunately, South Dakota workers' compensation insurance is a no-fault insurance that covers most workers in the state.

Immediately after a workplace incident that results in personal injury, or illness, to you, you should give written notice of the accident to your supervisor.  Notice of the incident must be given within three (3) business days of the event. At that time, your employer then has seven (7) days to send in a First Report of Injury to their insurance provider who’ll then process the claim.

Next, you should seek medical attention. Being treated soon after you’ve been injured serves two important purposes. First, early treatment makes it more likely that you’ll recover from your injuries faster. Second, the closer in time to your accident that you receive treatment, the less room it gives your employer, or its insurance company, to argue that your injuries are not work-related.

After the insurance company evaluates your claim, an administrator will notify you about whether your claim has been accepted and the amount of benefits to which you are entitled.

If your claim for workers' compensation was denied, the first thing you should do is contact your employer, or the insurance company, to discuss why. However, unless the denial was a result of a clerical error with the paperwork or some other bona fide mistake on the part of your employer, or its insurance company, it’s unlikely the claim will be overturned and any benefits awarded. The reason why your claim was denied should be in a written denial letter, but common reasons include (but are not limited to):

  • The injury wasn’t reported in time
  • The claim wasn’t filed in time
  • Your employer is disputing the claim
  • The injury isn’t compensable (stress-related injuries for example can be very difficult to prove)
  • You never received medical treatment following the incident
  • There’s insufficient evidence the injury was work related

One of the main reasons people lose their workers' compensation claims is because they did not have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at their side to help them prepare a strong case.   No matter the reason your claim was denied, you can file an appeal. The denial letter should provide a deadline for filing, but don’t give up on your right to workers’ compensation benefits simply because your claim was denied initially. Make sure that your appeal is filed within the specified time limits, and that you have plenty of medical evidence to support your claim.

If you’ve been injured on the job, and your workers’ compensation claim was denied, you need an attorney that has the knowledge and resources to help you accurately navigate the steps necessary to filing, appealing and litigating your claim. Russ Janklow is an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, having received Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Litigation. Attorney Russ Janklow will help you throughout the entire claims process and work diligently to ensure you receive the highest compensation you are entitled to after a workplace injury. Call Attorney Russ Janklow today at (605) 338-4304 or email Russ at to schedule a free consultation.