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What Is The Defense Base Act (DBA)

The Defense Base Act covers civilian employees working outside the United States on U.S. military bases or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or for national defense. It’s designed to provide workers’ medical treatment and compensation protection to those injured in the scope and course of employment.

The Defense Base Act, which Congress enacted back in 1941 is an extension of the  Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act of 1927. The Longshore Act was designed to cover dock and maritime workers when they weren’t covered by the Merchant Maritime Act, which guaranteed seaman some kind of compensation if they were injured at sea.

Benefits Under the DBA

What is a Defense Base Act Lawyer?

A Defense Base Act Lawyer is an attorney that represents injured workers who are covered under the Defense Base Act. There are circumstances where we can simply help with claims or in more complex cases, represent you to fight for a defense base act claim on your behalf.

We protect your rights as a civilian employee working outside the United States on U.S. military bases. When your case is over and finalized, you will know we fought for you and your rights.

Who Can We Help

We help civilian employees who have suffered a serious injury working on a government contract anywhere in the world outside the United States.

Our team delivers thorough investigation, skillful negotiation and litigation expertise in courts of law on your behalf. Injured Federal Worker is dedicated to obtaining what you deserve and maximizing your financial compensation.

Best Lawyer Of the Year - 2013 - Alan J. Shapiro
Best Lawyer - Best Law Firms U.S. News - 2016
WILG - Lighting the way for the rights of Injured Workers

I highly recommend Attorney Alan Shapiro for representation concerning Defense Base Act & Longshore Claims. Mr. Shapiro is a defense base act lawyer who is truly willing to take on difficult cases.

– R.M. , Injured Federal Worker Client

Defense Contract Worker Injuries

If you are injured while working overseas for any contractor below, then your injury probably falls under the Defense Base Act.

Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) is an engineering and construction company.
DynCorp International
Bechtel: Engineering, Construction & Project Management
Halliburton: Oilfield Services
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Overseas Military Bases

If you are in any country featuring the U.S. military, U.S. military base or government presence and become injured on the job, then your injury probably falls under the Defense Base Act.

  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Great Britain
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Panama
  • Turkey
  • Hungary
  • Spain
  • Guam
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina

Injury Claims

To be entitled to benefits under the Defense Base Act, you must have sustained an injury. And, as required by the Act, it is imperative to have immediately reported the injury to one’s immediate supervisor.

If an injury leads to a disability, that must have resulted from an injury while employed and on the premises.

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Unscheduled Injury

A few unscheduled injuries covered under the Defense Base Act include:

  • Back injury
  • Shoulder pain injury
  • Hip injury
  • Neck and spinal cord injury
  • Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Burns
  • Limb loss
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Scheduled Injury

Scheduled Injuries typically included a loss of limb or appendage or loss of hearing. A scheduled disability refers to loss of or loss function of a body parts. If your injury fits into one of the aforementioned categories, you might be entitled to receive benefits under the defense based act for a set period of time based on the severity of your injury.

Benefits under the DBA

Death Benefits

  • Burial Expenses.
  • Wages for surviving spouse, or for one surviving child.
  • Spousal death benefit is payable for life, unless remarried.
  • Child benefit is paid up to age 18, student benefit through age 23 if in school full time.

Medical Benefits of DBA

  • Medical treatment by physician of choice.
  • Medical care must be related to the employment injury or illness.
  • Medical treatment is payable for as long as the injury or illness requires.

Lifetime Disability Benefits

  • Permanent disability is payable as long as disability continues.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

  • Available for permanently disabled employees unable to return to employment without assistance.
  • Rehabilitation Services
  • Available only to those permanently disabled employees residing in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Attorney fees come directly from the insurance carrier and not from the client’s recovery. This means that any injured defense base worker hurt overseas in a situation covered by the Defense Base Act can afford to retain experienced, effective representation.

Yes. The DBA applies to employees who work on United States military defense bases in Puerto Rico and that an employer that secures insurance coverage for its employees as required by the DBA is entitled to tort immunity under the Longshore Act.

If you are disabled more than three days, contact your employer or the insurance company for payment of compensation, which must be paid 14 days after your employer has knowledge of the injury and claim for benefits.

To successfully file a claim after an injury or death, certain guidelines must be followed. All claims under the Defense Base Act must be filed within a two year period. If a previous payment of compensation has been made, a new claim must be filed within one year of the date of the last payment of compensation.

Yes, an Employer who Shares Protected Information with Anyone Beyond Certain Pertaining Parties Could be Subject to Legal Action.
Many contractors who are injured overseas are concerned about what will happen to their careers if they file an injury claim. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides specific protections to allow workers to collect Defense Base Act (DBA) benefits while respecting a worker’s privacy.

Dear injured worker,
At our law firm I help my clients with their cases. Scheduled Injuries typically included a loss of limb or appendage or loss of hearing. A scheduled disability refers to loss of or loss function of a body parts.

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