In a Defense Base Act, or 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 10/01/12 that is $1,325.18 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 temporarily, you are entitled to temporary partial disability compensation, payable at two thirds of the difference between your previous average weekly wage and the wage that you are now able to earn.

Once you reach the point of maximum medical improvement, your benefits change from temporary to permanent benefits. When this occurs, 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  for scheduled award benefits. For example, the law states that if you lost 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. A child benefit will be paid up to the age of 18, however, if the child is a full-time student, this benefit can be paid up to the age of 23 for the child. 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. You are also entitled to funeral expenses up to $3,000.00.

Under the law, you are also entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care for your injuries. The law entitles you to treat your injuries with a doctor that you choose. Please contact us today if you have a question regarding your case. We are Defense Base Act Lawyers and will educate you and fight to make sure that you receive the full benefits you deserve.

Clifford R. Mermell, Esq.

Clifford R. Mermell, Esq., created the law firm of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. on March 1, 1996. Mr. Mermell has been the senior and managing partner of the firm since its creation. The firm was created to champion the rights of injured workers nationwide. It represents cases under the Worker’s Compensation, Wrongful Termination, Personal Injury, Admiralty and Maritime, Defense Base Act, and Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act Laws.


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