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Do All States Have Compulsory Workers’ Compensation Laws?


Workers’ compensation is an insurance system that gives injured workers certain benefits after a workplace accident. In most states, workers’ compensation is a “compulsory” system, which means that it must be used first if it is an option. In other words, if you’re covered by workers’ compensation through your employer, then you have to try to use its benefits first before filing a personal injury claim against them. You might not even have the chance to file an injury claim at all, depending on your situation.

Every state has its own unique set of workers’ compensation rules, though. For example, in Texas, workers’ compensation isn’t even required for most workers.

Many states will exclude the following workers from workers’ compensation coverage:

  • Independent contractors
  • Volunteers
  • Some agricultural workers
  • Part-time household workers

Can You Ever Sue for a Workplace Accident?

You might be able to sue your employer for a workplace accident if you aren’t legally compelled to use workers’ compensation based on your state and your job description. However, if workers’ compensation is an option, then it is probably a good idea for you to use it. When handled correctly, a workers’ comp claim effectively guarantees you medical treatment coverage and a percentage of your regular wages if you can’t return to work for a while.

A lawsuit after a workplace accident might also be an option if you were hurt due to your employer’s intentional wrongdoing or egregious negligence. Again, it depends on your state’s laws, though. Some states won’t allow a lawsuit against an employer if the injured employee has used workers’ comp, even if the employer had acted significantly neglectful to put the worker in harm’s way.

If you need help figuring out your options after a workplace accident in South Dakota, call Whiting Hagg Hagg Dorsey & Hagg at (605) 519-6136 today. Our attorneys would be happy to review your case and provide legal guidance or representation. You can also fill out an online contact form if you prefer.