Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of hiring an attorney?
There is absolutely no cost for an initial consultation. In fact, you will be represented on a contingency fee basis meaning, in most circumstances, your attorney only receives payment if your case settles.
Do I need an attorney if I am injured on the job?
There are several reasons you might need a South Dakota workers' compensation attorney to represent you following a workplace injury. First, there are deadlines for filing a claim and notifying your employer of your injury, and your claim may be barred if you miss one of those deadlines. Further, an employer or insurance company might not voluntarily provide you all of the benefits to which you are entitled under the South Dakota Workers’ Compensation Act. Having a knowledgeable attorney handle your claim helps ensure that your rights are protected and ensures you receive maximum recovery allowed under the law.
What are my rights if I am injured on the job?
Under the South Dakota Workers’ Compensation Act, if you are unable to work following a job injury, you are entitled to payment of two thirds of your weekly income (not to exceed $500 per week) for up to four hundred weeks. If your claim is designated as catastrophic, you could be entitled to receive income benefits for the remainder of your life. Further, your employer is required to pay for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred as a result of your workplace injury.
What if my claim is denied?
If your employer or the insurance carrier denies any part of your claim, you have a right to a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. An effective and experienced attorney will file the proper documentation and maximize your chances of prevailing if your case proceeds to trial. Of course, workers’ compensation cases frequently settle prior to trial, or the parties are able to resolve the issues without proceeding to a trial. In those cases, your attorney will protect your rights and ensure that your employer lives up to their legal obligations.
Does it matter if my job injury was my fault?
The South Dakota workers’ compensation system is designed to protect all employees who are injured on the job, subject to some limited exceptions. Thus, you are most likely still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if you were the cause of you own injury.
How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?
The South Dakota Workers’ Compensation Act provides that you have one year from the date of your accident to file a Notice of Claim. However, if you employer has provided medical treatment as a result of your job injury or if you are able to continue working following your injury, this deadline is extended. Of course, if you are uncertain as to whether the statute of limitations has run out in your case, it is best to consult an attorney.
Does my pre-existing injury or condition bar my right to file a workers’ compensation claim?
No. In South Dakota, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you aggravate or exacerbate a pre-existing condition on the job. It is common for people to have pre-existing injuries but still be able to work. However, if your job aggravates that condition and you become unable to work or need medical treatment, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as a result of the aggravation.