Civilian employees disabled overseas could receive weekly compensation up to $1,632.70. And this is only part of the benefits covered under the Defense Base Act (DBA).
If you suspect you or a family member may be DBA eligible, keep reading. It’s important you understand seven key facts to successfully file DBA claims.
What Is the Defense Base Act?
The Defense Base Act is a federal statute passed in 1941. It’s an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. But in 1958 a DBA amendment expanded coverage to all overseas civilian contractors.
The DBA is equal to workers’ compensation but with specific restrictions. The DBA exists to provide insurance benefits to civilian military contractors only.
Whether you qualify depends on your worker status. But as long as you’re eligible you can receive financial compensation for lost wages. Other benefit coverage includes:
- Medical treatment
- Disability compensation
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits
Contact an experienced DBA lawyer to find out if you’re eligible for benefits.
Filing DBA Claims
Now you understand the basis for filing DBA claims. But that’s not all you need to know. Take notes because knowing the following could prove helpful:
1. Hiring a DBA Attorney Costs You Nothing
The DBA is what’s called a fee-shifting statute. So meeting certain requirements shifts your attorney fees onto the insurance company. You’re not expected to pay any upfront attorney fees in DBA claims.
2. Documentation Is Required
As an employee filing a DBA claim you must provide supporting documentation. If you hire an attorney, turn all DBA claim information over to them. If you can’t find personal records of such, request them from Human Resources.
Documentation includes incident reports, medical records, and lost wages. Continue documenting any ongoing medical treatment you receive. Responsibility for paid and unpaid medical bills falls on your insurance carrier.
3. You Can File a Claim Yourself
Whether to hire a Defense Base Act attorney is up to you. Considering you’re not responsible for attorney fees and costs, why wouldn’t you? But should you choose to file an Employee’s Claim for Compensation yourself, you can do so online.
4. Injury and Disability Are Different
The DBA provides temporary and permanent disability benefits to civilian military contractors. They cover lifetime weekly compensation for employees sustaining total disability only. But the injured and families of contractors killed overseas can also claim benefits.
5. After Hour Incidents Qualify Too
The accident causing your incapacity doesn’t have to occur during work hours for you to qualify. And employees who suffer mental health issues may also file Defense Base Act claims. The DBA covers PTSD, depression, anxiety, and aggravated injuries.
6. Financial Compensation Varies
The actual amount of your claim benefits is two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Although it’s capped, the maximum amount is likely to change annually on the 1st of October. Be aware of your compensation rate eligibility before you file so you’re not surprised.
7. Time Is Of the Essence
Filing a DBA claim is time-sensitive. You must give an employer notification of your loved one’s death within 30 days. And you have up to one year to file a DBA claim.
Defense Base Act Claims
If you suffer an injury as a civilian military contractor overseas, seek medical attention. And be sure to document everything from the moment you’re injured. Even if it seems insignificant it could matter for DBA claims.
You need someone to fight for you when you’re injured. Contact us to speak with a DBA lawyer before discussing your accident with anyone else.