If you are employed as a contractor working overseas for private employers on U.S. military bases and you are injured on the job, you may be able to receive compensation and medical care under the Defense Base Act.
In order to be able to determine whether you are covered so you can receive compensation for your medical bills and other losses, you may need the help of a Defense Base Act lawyer.
The DBA lawyers at The Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. have over 60 years of combined experience fighting for injured workers. Our skilled attorneys know what it takes to win your case, and are dedicated to fighting to maximize your recovery.
What Is the Defense Base Act (DBA)?
The Defense Base Act was passed in 1941 in order to support U.S. military expansion policies. Civilian contractors who work in war zones, including mechanics, electricians, translators, and other support personnel are protected under this act.
The Defense Base Act provides compensation to civilians injured while working for a company supporting the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait or elsewhere.
Civilian contractors often face the same dangers as the military, but they may not have the time or resources to fight insurance companies that are federally supervised. In many cases, their employers may neglect their legal responsibilities, which means that hiring a Defense Base Act lawyer is their best choice for receiving maximum compensation.
Some examples of contractors and personnel covered by the Defense Base Act include:
• Construction engineers
• Cultural advisors
• Food service workers
• Heavy equipment operators
• Laundry service workers
• Military and police trainers
• Personal security specialists
• Social scientists
• Translators / interpreters
• Truck drivers
• Vehicle mechanics
This is not an exhaustive list, which may include individuals working on any contracts approved by the U.S. Government.
Injuries Covered by the DBA
Unlike in personal injury cases, where the injured party needs to prove that someone else caused the accident by being negligent, Defense Base Act cases do not require another party to be at fault. This means that individuals injured while working as contractors overseas do not need to prove that someone else caused their injury.
Contractors working overseas are covered under this act for all accidents that might happen to them when working. You may also be covered even if you were not working at the time of the accident. Under the “Zone of Special Danger” rule, anyone working in a war zone, such as in Afghanistan or Iraq, will be covered 24 hours per day. Whether it’s falling down a flight of stairs, lifting a heavy pot or pan, falling in the shower, dodging incoming rocket attacks, or accidently discharging a weapon, you most likely have a case.
Some of the injuries covered by the DBA include:
• Back injuries
• Broken bones
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Chemical exposures
• Chest pains
• Hearing problems
• Heart attack
• Hip injuries
• Lead poisoning
• Neck injuries
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Spinal cord injuries
• Traumatic brain injuries
The Defense Base Act also covers workers who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms (PTSD). Because symptoms of PTSD might not always be obvious or pronounced, many sufferers are not aware that they are covered or that they can claim compensation under the Defense Base Act. A PTSD claim can be valid if it is filed within two years from the date you knew or should have known that your condition is related to work activities.
What Damages Can Be Claimed?
The damages that can be claimed under the Defense Base Act include medical and disability coverage as well as death benefits. You can apply even if your injury did not occur during work time, but still while deployed in a zone of danger.
Monetary compensation depends on the severity of the injury. Those who have suffered a total disability may claim compensation equivalent to two-thirds of their weekly wage. Contractors who are suffering from a partial disability receive compensation upon a schedule or based upon 2/3 of the difference between what they were able to earn before the accident and what they are able to earn after the accident.
In the event of death, the contractor’s spouse may receive 50% of the contractor’s weekly wage for life. If there are children, the spouse and children may receive up to 2/3 of the contractor’s weekly wage to the children’s age of majority.
Why Hire a DBA Attorney?
Attorneys who specialize in filing DBA claims, like the skilled DBA lawyers at The Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A., have the experience required to fight against insurance companies and maximize DBA benefits and settlements.
Because insurance companies are interested in minimizing any compensation they pay, obtaining DBA compensation can be a challenge. These claims are often complex, which means there is a real possibility of unfair denials.
By hiring a DBA attorney like the lawyers at The Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. , you get a lawyer who has seen your situation hundreds or thousands of times. Our lawyers know exactly what to do at each step of your case. We will educate you and make sure that you take the right steps to ensure that you receive your compensation, medical care and perhaps a large settlement.
With the help of a DBA attorney, you can learn what documents to collect as evidence before submitting a claim, get a clear estimate of your claim’s worth, and ensure you get a favorable settlement. Moreover, a DBA attorney can prevent you from accepting an unfair offer and will fight in your corner to maximize compensation awards.
If you are looking for a Defense Base Act lawyer, choose the qualified DBA attorneys at The Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. Contact us for a free DBA consultation today.