What is the Defense Base Act?

The United States government employs thousands of contractors around the world to support the U.S. military. These employees are all covered under the Defense Base Act (DBA).

The Defense Base Act was passed in 1941 to protect civilian contractors working on United States military bases, regardless of U.S. immigration status. The DBA ensures that contracted workers from anywhere in the world who have been injured on the job receive compensation for work-related disabilities, injuries, and death benefits. The DBA provides valuable compensation and medical care for all injured workers regardless of fault.

Who is Covered Under the Defense Base Act?

The primary objective of the Defense Base Act is to ensure that civilians working overseas get workers’ compensation benefits. This applies to civilian workers who work for private contractors overseas on military bases.

This law applies to four groups of civilian workers, be it foreign nationals or U.S. citizens:

● Private contractors who work on any foreign lands or military bases belonging to the U.S. governments for military purposes.
● Public contractors working with U.S. government agencies.
● Any contract approved and funded by the United States via the Foreign Assistance Act.
● American contractors who provide welfare or similar services for Armed Forces outside the United States.

What Does the Defense Base Act Cover?

The Defense Base Act covers medical expenses, death benefits, and disability benefits. Workers are only covered if the incident occurs while on duty, unless they can prove that they are working in a War Zone under the “Zone of Danger” exception. If you are working in a zone of danger, you are covered 24 hours per day regardless of whether the injury occurred on the job site or in the course and scope of employment. Most workers would be covered 24 hours per day in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Defense Base Act covers general injuries, death, or accidents that may happen to anyone in a contract under the United States Armed Forces.

Injuries covered by the Defense Base Act include injuries to the head, neck, back, arms, legs, feet, shoulders, knees, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and more.

Injuries can be classified under two categories:

Injuries to a Specific Body Part
Injuries to a specific body part, such as an arm, leg, hand, foot, eye, finger, or hearing loss.

Injuries to the Body as a Whole
An injury to the body as a whole would include the head, the neck, shoulders, back, hips, psychiatric claims and occupational diseases.

Defense Base Act Compensation

Some of the compensations to expect under the Defense Base Act includes bi-weekly compensation paid at the rate of 2/3 of your Average Weekly Wage and medical expenses. In the case of total disability, employees are eligible for two-thirds of their average weekly earnings to a maximum of determined each year. Also, the DBA provides compensation for partial disabilities, meaning you can return to work and collect 2/3 of the difference between what you were able to earn before the injury and what you are able to earn after the injury.

In the case of death, the death benefits rank at 50% of the employee’s weekly earnings to the surviving spouse. If there is a spouse and children, they can collect up to 2/3 of the employee’s weekly earnings.

Why You Should Hire a Defense Base Act Lawyer

At The Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A., our primary goal is to help guide you through the DBA process, from filing your claim to forcing the Employer/Carrier to provide you the compensation and medical benefits you deserve.

We Will File Your Defense Base Act Claim for You

Your DBA case starts with your claim. Allow the Defense Base Act experts at The Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. to file your claim for you to ensure that you are set up to receive the maximum compensation value available for your injuries.

We Will Educate You About Your Rights Under the DBA

Navigating a new legal process can be confusing. Trust the DBA attorneys at The Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. to educate you on what your rights are under the DBA, and what your compensation benefits could be and what is necessary to prove your case.
We Will Fight for You While You Focus on Recovery
When you attempt to settle a DBA claim without an attorney, you risk missing out on earning maximum compensation. You should be focusing on recovering from your injuries while we fight aggressively for the benefits that you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions About the DBA

Who Qualifies Under the DBA?

Injured employees qualify for DBA compensation if:

● They are an employed with the U.S.O or similar organizations.
● They are working on contracts under the Foreign Assistance Act of the United States.
● They are a worker under contract outside the U.S. with any United States agency.

What Injuries Qualify Under the DBA?

Injuries that qualify under the Defense Base Act include:

● Temporary total disability
● Temporary partial disability
● Permanent partial disability
● Permanent total disability

What to Do if Injured Under the DBA?

If you have been injured under the Defense Base Act, you should report your injury to your Employer, seek immediate medical attention and contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. In most cases, the law requires you to file your claim within one year from the date of the injury. Do not wait to file your claim. Let us file it for you in a professional and timely manner.

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