Navigating the Fine Print of the Defense Base Act

Navigating the Fine Print of the Defense Base Act

May 11, 2023 | Defense Base Act

No one reads fine print unless it’s their job to do so. So, if you don’t know the details of Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance coverage, don’t worry, our DBA lawyers have done the reading for you.

This article will highlight some of the more important items you should know but your employer may not have shared with you.

Yes, You’re Probably Eligible

The DBA covers all civilians working beyond the continental United States for the U.S. military, in service at US embassies, or functioning in some other way on behalf of the government. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to file a claim.

If your employer fails to maintain the proper insurance, the company is still responsible for damages. The company has to pay you the same benefits you would be entitled to if the company had DBA insurance. If your employer refuses to pay you what you deserve, you’re legally entitled to sue them for damages.

You Don’t Have to Settle for the Company Doctor

You have the right to be examined by the doctor you choose. Your employer may insist on using the company doctor to get a diagnosis favorable to the company. This tactic is often the case when an employer hasn’t maintained DBA insurance coverage for its employees.

Smaller contractors may callously risk operating without DBA insurance. Why? Failure to provide benefits is only a misdemeanor. The fine is capped at $10,000 with only a possible one-year imprisonment for company executives.

You Can Hire a Defense Base Act Lawyer

You’re entitled to use a defense base act attorney to help you file a claim. Your DBA lawyer can also represent you in court if the insurer fails to offer a reasonable amount.

If you do sue your employer because they refused to pay, you’ll receive significant legal considerations. For example, your employer can no longer dismiss your claim by saying that you knew the risk of the job when you accepted it.

They can also no longer say that your negligence is partly the reason for your injury. And they can’t blame one of your coworkers for your accident.

If you’re forced to hire an attorney because your employer refuses to pay and you win your case, your employer must pay your attorney fees. Unlike with typical insurance lawsuits, defense base act lawyers can only charge by the hour rather than working for a contingency fee.

DBA Insurance Provides Disability Payments

DBA insurance covers medical expenses, partial and total disability, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits.

The DBA recognizes four types of disability. There’s permanent disability, whether total or partial. And there’s temporary disability, whether total or partial. Permanent total disability means you no longer have the ability to perform your previous job.

Initially, expect the insurer to classify your injury as a temporary disability. They will insist on that classification until doctors inform them that your condition has reached the limit of its improvement. Then you become eligible to receive a permanent disability classification.

Total disability means you’re entitled to two-thirds of your typical weekly income up to a given amount, which is updated annually.

DBA disability payments are supposed to begin faster than typical disability payments. They should start two weeks after notifying your employer of your injuries.

We Want to Be Your Defense Base Attorney

You’ve performed your job under the Defense Base Act and received injuries. Now it’s time for us to perform our job and get you the financial assistance you need to deal with those injuries.

Contact the Barnes Law Firm today and make us your Defense Base Attorney so we can begin getting you the DBA benefits you’ve earned and deserve.