“I was injured at work. Now what happens?”
Workers’ Compensation Series, No. 1
If you have been injured at work it is a serious situation. Aside from being concerned about whether your injury is severe or not you will also be concerned with what your employer will do when it finds out you were injured. Will you be treated fairly and allowed to get medical care from a doctor of your choice? Will you be told not to do anything and see if the injury goes away? Will you be threatened with losing your job?
The majority of the time injured workers are able to seek medical care and return to work with relatively little inconvenience and no lost time. However, if your injuries are such that you are not able to return to work or if you think you are not being treated fairly, you should contact a lawyer to have them explain to you your rights. Many times workers’ compensation attorneys will happily talk to you on the phone at no charge and explain to you your rights. Further, workers’ compensation attorneys typically represent injured attorneys with contingent fee agreements, meaning you do not have to pay any attorney fees unless you recover money from the insurance company.
There are many rules that apply to workers’ compensation claims. Those rules are easy to access and read at the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation website. However, sometimes the plain meaning of a rule as written does not adequately explain how that rule is interpreted and applied by the South Dakota Supreme Court and Department of Labor. If you find yourself in this situation, talk to a lawyer to protect yourself and your family, you will be glad you did.