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Houston Defense Base Act Blog

What to ask when interviewing workers' comp attorney

For an injured worker, not being able to make a living and provide is tough enough. It may be truly heartbreaking to have to deal with workers’ compensation red tape in order to get benefits you are rightfully entitled to. Because of this, sometimes legal action is needed to properly assert one’s rights.

But if you don’t know any lawyers (especially those who handle workers’ compensation or disability claims) how can you choose the right one for you? Indeed, getting referrals from friends and family can help, but when choosing an attorney, it is best to interview each one to see which one is right for you.

Ranking of best employers for veterans

He retired from the Army as a command sergeant major. On his resume: two bachelor's degrees and a master's in business administration. He thought at the time that civilian employers would be eager to have him.

He was wrong. The transition from military to civilian life "was absolutely horrible." It was difficult to get interviews and just about impossible to land a job. However, after years of rejections and struggles, he has landed a dream job.

Part II: The age-old tradition of military contractors

In our previous Houston Defense Base Act Blog post, we shared some of the thoughts of Molly Dunigan, the RAND Corporation's associate director of the Defense and Political Sciences Department. Dunigan spoke to NPR about the past, present and future of civilian contractors working for the U.S. military.

She pointed out there are several benefits to the increased use by the Pentagon of contractors, including flexibility. She said contractors can be quickly summoned and have trained, equipped personnel ready to go.

Military contractors: An age-old tradition gets stronger

The RAND Corporation is a think-tank and research and analysis organization that has helped shape U.S. policy and priorities for decades.

Molly Dunigan, the prestigious non-profit's associate director of the Defense and Political Sciences Department, recently discussed with NPR the past, present and future of military contractors.

As the world changes, American priorities remain

While it is not written about much in the national news media or talked about in town hall meetings or political campaigns, the reality of today's U.S. military is that it is leaner than in times past because of an increased reliance on civilian contractors. Those contractors are often former members of the military themselves, but their checks come today from private employers who, in turn, receive their payments from the Pentagon.

The bottom line for the American public is that fewer U.S. service members are asked to put their lives on the line in dangerous places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. That means fewer American soldiers are injured or killed in those places, though there are privately employed Americans working as civilian contractors still taking care of security, construction, training, communications, etc., in Iraq, Afghanistan and other volatile spots.

A story of service and sacrifice

The stories told by and about civilians who serve our nation as contractors for our military overseas are often ignored by the news media. There always seems to be something bigger, more exciting and more likely to lure readers and viewers. Let's face it: the fatalities and injuries suffered by civilian contractors are often simply ignored.

We try to be the exception to that rule here in our Houston Defense Base Act blog. We recently read a piece by a reporter who is also proving to be an exception. The column was about a civilian contractor who was killed in Yemen and the struggles of his family in the aftermath of that tragedy.

Are military interpreters covered under the Defense Base Act?

The United States involvement in the Middle East since 2001 has opened up new opportunities overseas for people fluent in foreign languages. Today, President Donald Trump's efforts to reform immigration laws combined with his simmering disagreements with Syria, Russia and North Korea have put international relations back on the hot stove.

One group of people caught in a peculiar status amidst the talks are military interpreters, many of whom, like government defense contractors, played a vital role in our troops' ability to complete frontline missions in the War on Terrorism. Recent proposals by U.S. Congressmen have attempted to extend some citizenship and veterans' care benefits to interpreters in Afghanistan and Iraq. Could they too be covered for injuries under the Defense Base Act?

Gitmo defense attorneys claim their Camp Justice housing is toxic

What is a lawyer to do when forced to choose between his own safety and representing his client? That's the question four defense attorneys hired by the Department of Defense to represent terrorism detainees are asking. In a lawsuit filed earlier this week, the men accuse the Navy of forcing them to live in buildings on Guantanamo Bay Naval Base that are known to contain "hazardous conditions and cancer-causing chemicals, ranging from formaldehyde to heavy metals and mold."

According to Courthouse News Service, an investigation documented the presence of the toxins and hazardous conditions, but that the Navy concluded arbitrarily that the buildings were safe anyway.

Workplace injuries: Statistics, causes and more

The numbers tell a grim tale. Workplaces are far too often places where accidents lead to injuries that can force employees to miss work and apply for workers' compensation benefits. Sometimes the accidents are even worse. Statistics show that 13 Americans per day lose their lives in workplace accidents.

Every year, more than 3 million workers suffer injuries on the job. The most common injuries can happen to just about anyone.

Civilian contractor in Japan killed in fall

The Yokosuka Naval Base sits about 20 miles south of Japan's second most populous city, Yokohama. The base is an integral part of the U.S. military presence in the western Pacific. It is also where an unfortunate mishap took place recently aboard the USS Ronald Reagan.

A 59-year-old civilian contractor died of injuries sustained in a fall from a ladder while on the nuclear-powered supercarrier. Medical workers attended to the man before he was taken to the nearby U.S. Navy Hospital Yokosuka. It was there that he was pronounced dead of his injuries.