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Our dependable Defense Base Act Lawyers are here to help you with any questions you have regarding your DBA case. Here are some very interesting facts and case summaries regarding the presumption of compensability in a DBA or Longshore case coming directly from the Longshore Deskbook from the Benefits Review Board. Let our experienced Defense Base Act Attorneys answer your questions. The Longshore Desk Book is a searchable website which is a public record. According to the Longshore Deskbook:
Section 20 provides
In any proceeding for the enforcement of a claim for compensation under this Act it shall be presumed, in the absence of substantial evidence to the contrary–
(a) That the claim comes within the provisions of this Act.
(b) That sufficient notice of such claim has been given.
(c) That the injury was not occasioned solely by the intoxication of the injured employee.
(d) That the injury was not occasioned by the willful intention of the injured employee to injure or kill himself or another.
This section thus provides claimant with a presumption in the areas covered which shifts the burden to employer to rebut it with substantial evidence. Section 20 of this Deskbook will cover Section 20(a), which primarily aids claimant in establishing causation under Section 2(2), and Section 20(b), which aids claimant in establishing the timeliness of his claim under Sections 12 and 13. Sections 20(c) and (d) are discussed in Section 3(c) of the Deskbook.
Section 20(a) – Where Applicable
The plain language of Section 20(a) of the Act states that it presumes that a claim comes within the provisions of the Act. It is most frequently applied to aid a claimant in proving that his injury arises out of and in the course of his employment under Section 2(2) of the Act. This presumption of compensability is grounded in the humanitarian purpose of the Act, favoring awards in arguable cases. Wheatley v. Adler, 407 F.2d 307 (D.C. Cir. 1968) (en banc); Leyden v. Capitol Reclamation Corp., 2 BRBS 24 (1975), aff’d mem., 547 F.2d 706 (D.C. Cir. 1977).
The presumption applies to the issue of whether an injury is causally related to employment, see, e.g., Swinton v. J. Frank Kelly, Inc., 554 F.2d 1075, 1082, 4 BRBS 466, 475 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 820 (1976); Wheatley v. Adler, 407 F.2d 307; Welding v. Bath Iron Works Corp., 13 BRBS 812 (1981), and its application to this issue in discussed in detail in this section of the deskbook. Where claimant has a pre-existing condition and aggravation is raised, Section 20(a) applies to whether the injury is caused directly by the employment or is the result of the aggravation of the prior condition. See, e.g., Bath Iron Works Corp. v. Preston, 380 F.3d 597, 38 BRBS 60(CRT) (1 st Cir. 2004); Conoco, Inc. v. Director, OWCP [Prewitt], 194 F.3d 684, 33 BRBS 187(CRT) (5 th Cir. 1999); Brown v. Jacksonville Shipyards, Inc., 893 F.2d 294, 23 BRBS 22(CRT) (11 th Cir. 1990); Rajotte v. General Dynamics Corp., 18 BRBS 85 (1986); LaPlante v. General Dynamics Corp./Electric Boat Division, 15 BRBS 83 (1982) (Kalaris, concurring and dissenting); Seaman v. Jacksonville Shipyards, Inc., 14 BRBS 148.9 (1981). It thus applies in determining whether the claimant’s disabling condition is work-related. See Swinton, 554 F.2d 1075, 4 BRBS 466; Kubin v. Pro-Football, Inc., 29 BRBS 117 (1995); Mackey v. Marine Terminals Corp., 21 BRBS 129 (1988).
The Section 20(a) presumption is applicable in psychological injury cases. Konno v. Young Bros., Ltd., 28 BRBS 57 (1994); Sanders v. Alabama Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co., 22 BRBS 340 (1989) (decision on remand); Marino v. Navy Exchange, 20 BRBS 166 (1988).
If you are a contractor who has been injured on the job while working overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan or on any military base across the world, your case is covered by the Defense Base Act which is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. At the Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A., our qualified defense base act lawyers have a combination of over 43 years of experience in representing injured workers covered by the Defense Base Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Let us put our years of experience and our reputation to work for you today! Contact us today at mail@gmpcomplaw.com, or go on our website at www.dbalawyers.com and fill out our form on the contact us page, or call us at 305 595 3350.
If you have a question about the presumption of compensability or any other question in your DBA or Longshore case, contact our qualified defense base act attorneys today at mail@gmpcomplaw.com, or go on our website at www.dbalawyers.com and fill out our form on the contact us page, or call us at 305 595 3350.

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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