One of the Nation’s Premier
Defense Base Act Lawyers

When a Warrior Needs a Lawyer

Email Us or Call for a FREE Consultation
Available 24/7 – Se Habla Español
Serving clients in the U.S. and worldwide

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act, commonly known as the DBA, is a Federal Workers’ Compensation program designed to cover civilian contractors working overseas for companies in support of the United States military.

What is an injured worker entitled to under the Defense Base Act?

An injured worker is entitled to three benefits from the insurance carrier:

  1. Payment of workers’ compensation benefits while under the care of a doctor
  2. Medical care and treatment covered by the insurance provider
  3. May be entitled to a lump sum settlement in the event that the worker is unable to return to their job overseas and is unable to earn pre-injury wage
Who is covered by the Defense Base Act?
Civilian contractors (employees) who are injured overseas working for companies that have contracts with the State Department or Department of Defense to support the military.
Which companies are regularly involved in Defense Base Act claims?
  • Mission Essentials
  • DynCorp
  • Triple Canopy
  • KBR
  • Halliburton
What types of jobs are covered by the Defense Base Act?
Any job that is involved with the support of the United States military overseas is typically covered by the DBA. These jobs include: interpreters, security personnel, logistics specialists, truck drivers, electricians, etc.
Is an injured worker under the Defense Base Act entitled to a settlement?
Yes, an injured worker may be entitled to a settlement. In order to be entitled to a settlement the injury must prevent you from returning overseas and earning the same rate of pay as you were prior the injury.
What injuries are covered by the Defense Base Act?
There is no limit as to what type of injury a person must have to be covered by the DBA.
What is the difference between a scheduled injury and a non-scheduled injury under the Defense Base Act?
A scheduled injury is an injury to an extremity of the body such as the knee, hand, elbow, foot, eyes, nose or ears. A non-scheduled injury is an injury to the neck, back, hip or shoulder.
Is there any difference in compensation under the Defense Base Act with scheduled injuries versus non-scheduled injuries?
With a scheduled injury you will receive an impairment rating from your doctor, which will be paid according to the impairment rating table (non-negotiable). With a non-scheduled injury, if your injury prevents you from returning to work overseas, you are entitled to a lump sum settlement.
Are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms covered by the Defense Base Act?
Symptoms and injuries related to PTSD are covered by the DBA.
For a Defense Base Act claim, what do I need to do to show that I suffer from PTSD?
In order to obtain compensation under the DBA for PTSD, you must have a diagnosis from a medical doctor.
How much will I have to pay in attorney’s fees?
The client will not have to pay any attorney’s fees. Our attorney’s fees are paid directly from the carrier separate and apart from the client’s recovery. Attorney’s fees do not take any portion of the client’s recovery.
Does the Defense Base Act cover foreign citizens?
Yes. The Defense Base Act remedies for an injury not exclusive to US citizens. The Defense Base Act applies to US citizens as well as foreign citizens employed to work on United States military bases overseas. At Barnes Law Firm we represent clients from all over the world whose claims fall under the DBA.
What is a Third Party Claim and how is it related to my Defense Base Act claim?

If your injury falls under the Defense Base Act you may still have a claim, in addition to the Defense Base Act, against a negligent third party. A third party is a person employed by someone other than your employer whose negligence caused the injury.

Example of a Third Party Claim:

You work for Halliburton and you are injured while driving due to the negligence of a person employed by DynCorp driving. Under these circumstances, you will have a Defense Base Act claim with your employer’s insurance carrier, but also a Third Party Claim against the negligent driver and their employer for your injuries too.

What does a Third Party Claim mean?
Under a Third Party Claim there is no limit to what you can recover, unlike Federal Workers’ Compensation and the Defense Base Act. In addition, a Third Party Claim will not impair or limit your claims and recovery under the DBA. As a result, any recovery against a negligent third party will only add to your total recovery.
Do I get mileage reimbursement under the Defense Base Act?
Yes, an injured person covered by the DBA is entitled to mileage reimbursement for trips to the doctor.
What do I need to do for the pre-authorization approval process?
Your medical provider should contact the insurance company for approval.
How is average weekly wage calculated under the DBA?
The average weekly wage is calculated in 3 different ways depending on the circumstances: (1) using your contract amount of payment, (2) based on your pay during the previous 52 weeks prior to the injury, and (3) calculated in a blended calculation between what you made overseas and what you made prior to working overseas.
What is the compensation rate for an injured party under the DBA?

The compensation rate for an injured party is 2/3rd’s of the average weekly wage, with a maximum weekly wage that will vary by the date of injury. Visit the Department of Labor to see the average weekly wage schedule.

What is an IME doctor?
IME stands for Independent Medical Examination. An IME doctor is a doctor chosen by the insurance carrier for an independent assessment of the injured parties injuries.
Why are IME’s performed?
To assist the insurance carrier in assessing the injuries.
What is a vocational assessment?
A vocational assessment is an evaluation to determine an injured parties’ earning capacity. The assessment looks at the injured parties’ education, experience, linguistic ability and other attributes that make the injured person employable.
Why is a vocational assessment necessary?
A vocational assessment is necessary for the insurance carrier to evaluate the injured person’s claim for settlement purposes.
What is a labor market survey?
A labor market survey is the report the carrier creates from the information gathered in the vocational assessment. The labor market survey details potential employment options for the injured person.
What is an LS_207 form?
An LS-207 form is the form the insurance files with the Department of Labor disputing portions of the claim or disputing the entire claim.
What do I do if the insurance carrier disputes my Defense Base Act claim?
Do not go at it alone. Call Barnes Law Firm at toll free (888) 661-4002 or locally at (713) 652-4002. Se habla español