In a DBA injury case, you are entitled to compensation for temporary total disability at the rate of two thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum compensation rate (effective 10/01/09 that is $1,256.84 per week) for so long as a doctor says you are unable to return to work on a temporary basis. If you are able to return to work with restrictions on a temporary basis, you are entitled to temporary partial disability compensation, payable at two thirds of the difference between your previous average weekly wage and what you are now able to earn.
Once you reach the point of maximum medical improvement, your benefits change from temporary to permanent benefits. At that point, if you have an injury to the head, neck, shoulders, back or spine, you have what is called a “body as a whole” case, and you are eligible for either permanent total or permanent partial disability, which may be payable for the remainder of your life. If you do not have an injury that qualifies for “body as a whole” benefits, you are eligible for a “scheduled award” benefit in accordance with a table that allows a certain number of weeks to be paid per the injured body part. See Blog below for scheduled award benefits. For example, the law states that if you were to lose a leg, you would be entitled to 284 weeks of compensation for that injury upon reaching maximum medical improvement. While this does not seem fair, there are arguments which we have successfully made to cause a scheduled award case to become a “body as a whole” case, opening eligibility for permanent partial and/or permanent total disability in some scheduled award situations.
If your loved one dies as a result of an injury on the job, you are entitled to death benefits. Death benefits in a Defense Base Act case are payable at the rate of one half of the employee’s average weekly wage to a surviving spouse or child, or two thirds of the average weekly wage for two or more eligible survivors up the the current maximum rate of $1,114.44 per week. In order to receive death benefits, you may be required to prove dependency at the time of death. These death benefits may be payable to a spouse for the remainder of the life of the spouse, so long as the spouse does not re-marry. The death benefits to a child may last through college. You are also entitled to funeral expenses up to $3,000.00.
According to the law, you are also entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care for your injuries. You are entitled to treat your injuries with a doctor of your own choosing. We invite you to contact us today if you have a question about your case. We are Defense Base Act Lawyers who will educate you and fight to make sure that you receive the full benefits you deserve regarding your DBA injury.
If you have any questions about your benefits under the Defense Base Act, please contact Clifford R. Mermell, Esq.
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8603 South Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33143