South Dakota requires all businesses to have workers comp for employees, with only a few exceptions.

Workers comp insurance typically helps replace a portion of lost salary and the medical bills for an employee who's injured while doing a work-related task. Work injuries that can be covered by workers comp range from muscle injuries, foot joint pain and burns.

South Dakota workers compensation law outline many details in terms of who must be covered, who can be exempt from coverage and the specific limits of workers comp payments. Below are many of the specifics contained in the workers comp law in South Dakota. The South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation also has a page with helpful information for employers.

Who has to be covered by South Dakota workers compensation?


Can any employees opt out of South Dakota workers compensation with a waiver?

Yes - corporate officers and sole proprietors can.


Is self-insurance for workers comp allowed in South Dakota?

Yes, for individual employers, groups of utility employees and political subdivisions. Political subdivisions in South Dakota are typically the state or a city, county, special district, school district or public agency.

By self-insuring, a business assumes responsibility for paying their own workers comp claims. A self-insured company typically hires a claims service company to handle claims administration and other services.


Are there exclusions for:

Small employers? No.

Agricultural employers? Yes, based on the predominant nature of the employee's work, and the employer's business. No exclusion if primarily in the business of operating threshing machines, grain combines, corn shellers, cornhuskers, shredders, silage cutters, and seed hullers for profit.

Domestic employers? Yes, if the employee works less than six weeks in a 13-week period or less than 20 hours a week.

Independent contractors? Yes.

Casual employees? Yes.

Volunteers? Yes.

Professional athletes? No.

South Dakota workers comp medical benefits


Is there a South Dakota workers comp fee schedule?

Yes.

Fee schedules define payments for surgery, radiology, hospital services, chiropractic care, ambulance service, prescription drugs and other medical services for an injured worker.


Are there limits on medical treatment?

None.


Who makes the initial choice of treating physician?

The employee.

Disability payments for workers compensation insurance in South Dakota

Workers comp typically pays a worker some of their lost income if they cannot work because of a job-related injury. State laws stipulate certain limits on the disability payment amounts and length, based on both temporary and permanent disability.


How are temporary total disability (TTD) payments calculated?

66 2/3% of the employee's pre-injury wage, subject to a minimum and maximum. If the weekly wage is below 50% of the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW), the calculation is wages minus income tax and social security.

Weekly minimum: $367

Weekly maximum: $733

Maximum length of TDD benefits: For the duration of temporary total disability.

How are permanent total disability (PTD) payments calculated?

66 2/3% of the employee's pre-injury wage, subject to a minimum and maximum. If the weekly wage is below 50% of the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW), the calculation is wages minus income tax and social security.

Weekly minimum: $367

Weekly maximum: $733

Are there cost of living increases for PTD payments? Yes, increases annually based on the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, not to exceed 3%.

Maximum length of PTD benefits: For the length of disability and can be for life.

How are permanent partial disability (PPD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the employee's average weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $367

Weekly maximum: $733

Fatality benefits under South Dakota workers compensation law

Maximum burial benefit: $10,000

Dependency benefits, weekly minimum / maximum: $367/$733

When do children's dependency benefits end? At age 18; age 22 if the child is a student; benefits can continue for life if child is disabled.

Other injuries covered by South Dakota workers compensation

Mental stress with no physical injury? No.

Cumulative trauma (such as injuries caused by repeated exposure or repetitive motion)? Yes.

Occupational hearing loss? Yes.

Disfigurement? Yes.

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute, May 2016 report