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What is The Defense Base Act?

Defense Base Act (DBA) covers civilian employees who are military contractors overseas. It was enacted in 1941 as an extension to the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. It was created to provide  medical benefits and disability compensation  to civilian employees who are employed on military bases outside the United States of America.

The DBA covers civilian workers in defense contractors. The act does not only cover civilians alone, it also covers the working overseas providing services such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and welfare projects.

It can also apply to those who provide defense services outside the US. Some of the most hazardous jobs covered include bomb disposal, private military contractor, utility workers, truck driver, carpenter, translator, construction worker, electrician, truck driver, engineer and medic. The DBA will also cover those workers injured or killed while working as a contractor on a military base.

The workers employed in war zones are subjected to the same type of illnesses or injuries as military personnel. The injuries or illnesses include traumatic brain injury, paralysis, amputation, superficial war wounds and wrongful death. Other psychological injuries that may affect the worker after experiencing any life-threatening dangers such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorders are also covered by DBA.

According to Overseas-Contractors.com, a leading DBA law resource, Defense Base Act provides death benefits to family members of a worker killed while doing their job. This act will apply if the worker dies or get injured during their working hours. Compensation may include compensation for total disability, rehabilitation cost, long term medical costs, compensation for medical treatment, death benefits paid to family members and compensation for the loss of income as a result of the injury. Disability benefits and death benefits can be awarded for life.

If you are a Defense Base Act worker and you are injured very seriously to such an extent that you cannot return to your place of duty, you may be entitled to lifetime weekly compensation. The DBA uses a wage loss concept for Unschedule Injuries.

This means that the weekly disability is determined by the difference between your DBA earnings and what you are able to earn now around where you live considering factors such as education, training, age and disability among other factors.

The Defense Base Act requires that all contractors who work with the military to have a worker’s compensation insurance. This type of insurance is compulsory for those organizations which employ US citizens or residents and all the subcontractors or employees hired on overseas under contract to the United States Government.

It is important to have a DBA attorney represent you if you are injured in a maritime environment. DBA attorneys represent injured workers to ensure they get compensation. A DBA attorney will help you navigate the legal processes.

If a worker is injured, it has to be reported immediately to a supervisor. The notice of injury should be given in writing using form LS 201. After this is done, medical treatment is offered. The employee can file a claim using form LS 203 with the Office of Workers Compensation Programs. This is required within one year of the date of injury or last payment of compensation. To learn more about the defense base act, read this blog


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