Civilian contractors, from those in the food service industry to those in the security sector, all fall under the purview of the Defense Base Act when working overseas in support of the United States military. Coverage extends to those doing public works, construction, or repairs outside of the United States on U.S.-controlled territory. As an example, this includes people who are helping with the cleanup in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
In all corners of the globe, the Defense Base Act is enforced. The Defense Base Act guarantees workers’ compensation payments to anyone employed by a company with a contract with the Department of State or the Department of Defense. Injured workers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Africa, South America, and even Antarctica are typically covered by the Defense Base Act.
Lost wages, medical benefits, death payments, and in some situations vocational rehabilitation benefits are all available to qualifying claimants under the Defense Base Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. In the event of an injury, the first step is to notify your supervisor as quickly as possible. It’s possible that you’ll need to submit an injury report form right after an accident occurs. Then you need to see a doctor right now. The records of your doctor’s appointments could prove crucial to your case, so don’t neglect to keep them.
Although you have 30 days to report the injury to your employer, you should do it as soon as possible so that you can get medical attention. You have one year from the date of the injury to file a claim under the Defense Base Act. You have two years to do something in some instances. In such circumstances, however, you have only one year from the date of the accident or the date on which compensation was last given to file a claim. Defense Base Act claims begin with a “claim for compensation” filed on Form LS-203. You must report your injuries to the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. The New York Department of Labor is the first point of contact for those seeking compensation under the Defense Base Act. The case is then sent to the district office closest to the wounded worker’s home. Assigning a claims examiner, who investigates the claim and looks for any potential disagreements, is the next step. In the event of a disagreement, the examiner will convene a meeting of the parties involved to resolve the matter informally.
When an employee is hurt on the job, the Defense Base Act mandates that they receive medical attention, either from their employer or their insurance provider. This, however, occurs quite infrequently. Workers who sustain injuries on the job are expected to report them to their employers and seek medical attention. Contact the Department of Labor for help obtaining medical treatment if it is not supplied. However, if you need medical treatment quickly, you should usually consult with a Defense Base Act lawyer.
If you’ve been wounded on the job, and your doctor recommends restrictions that your employer can’t reasonably workaround, you may be eligible for compensation under the Defense Base Act. The insurance company or the employer should begin paying you compensation once you have missed a predetermined number of days due to the injury.
Defense Base Act Claim
- Immediately notify your manager that you have been injured. Include information on ALL areas of the body that were hurt in the accident in your written report. Write yourself a message and cc yourself on it.
- If it is permitted by corporate policy, photograph the scene of the accident and any injuries that resulted in bleeding or other apparent damage to your body or clothing.
- Every company we’ve worked with offers medical care in every country they operate in, whether that’s Afghanistan, Iraq, or another. Get checked out by a medic at the base and get a copy of your medical records to retain or photograph. Make sure you see the medic every few days, or as often as needed, and get the medical reports if you decide to wait until your next R&R date to treat at home instead of being medically evacuated. Once you depart and return home, it will be quite challenging for us to access these medical records. If you are not provided access to your medical records, your employer or insurer may misplace them, making it more difficult to prove the extent of your injuries.
- If your injury is serious enough to prevent you from doing your duties, you should not wait until R&R to return home. Ask to be sent home before R&R if you’re having trouble doing your work.
- Don’t sign any paperwork stating that you’re leaving your job, quitting, or resigning. Your company needs to grant you an MLOA (medical leave of absence) so that you can rest at home.
- Give your employer a complete accounting of all injuries. If you fail to include an injury in your initial report, the insurance company may reject your claim for that body part. Your case could suffer if you record a knee ailment but fail to mention a “unscheduled” injury, such as a psychological one. Claim strength is increased by the presence of unscheduled bodily parts, for which you are entitled to specific rights to continuous compensation payments. The head, neck, low back, middle back, shoulders, and mind are all areas that can sustain an injury that isn’t planned for.
- Get in touch with a good lawyer as soon as possible. Claiming compensation as soon as possible after an accident is essential.
Under the Defense Base Act, you have the right to see any doctor you want. Never accept a doctor’s recommendation or let your insurance company make that decision.