While members of our military often face risks to their health and well-being while being posted overseas, did you know that civilian military contractors could often fall in a similar line of fire? Being injured while working as a civilian military contractor can be a terrifying ordeal made only more confusing when you realize that you may not have the same protection as your military counterparts.
What is the defense base act?
In 1941, Congress enacted the Defense Base Act to provide disability coverage and compensation for workers posted on military bases outside of the U.S.A. The Defense Base Act (or DBA) was much needed as the United States prepared to enter yet another World War. This war was going to require a more capitalistic approach for victory to be achieved, which is where the DBA came in. The DBA allowed businesses to take advantage of the profits of war by sending personnel with the troops, with the knowledge that their assets were also protected. To maximize American war efforts, both military and non-military personnel were deployed throughout Europe and the South Pacific with the newly enacted DBA in place protecting them.
Since 1941, use of military contractors has exploded. In fact, more than 50% of the total military force in Iraq and Afghanistan during The War on Terror were civilian military contractors.
If you are injured while working as a civilian military contractor, you will now have to wade into the quagmire that occurs when the responsible insurance company denies your claim. This is when trained legal representation will become the best asset you can have.
What are the benefits to hiring a DBA attorney?
Here are 4 benefits to hiring a DBA attorney:
1. Your employer may not voluntarily or automatically reward you Defense Base Act compensation
While many people believe that the DBA’s importance means that any employer sending contractors’ overseas will automatically grant that coverage to an injured employee, that is a mistaken belief.
In fact, your employer and its insurance company have a team of adjusters, investigators and specialized lawyers whose sole job is to locate any reason that they can severely limit your compensation or deny your claim entirely. A Defense Base Act attorney understands this angle and can fight for your right to be covered when you have suffered a legitimate injury on the job.
2. The DBA is not like most state workers’ compensation programs
Unlike other state workers’ compensation programs, suffering a legitimate injury while working as a civilian military contractor still means that your employer can deny your claim without a hearing. It will then be up to you to prove that your injury falls under the Defense Base Act and you are entitled to compensation. A DBA attorney will help you fight when your employer acts without cause.
3. Not all attorneys understand the DBA
To succeed when you are faced with a denial of claim that falls under the DBA, you need a lawyer familiar with the act. Over the 76 years since its inception, the Defense Base Act has gone through many changes. It’s imperative that you have a lawyer on hand that understands this and can work within the act to fight your case.
4. You can hire an attorney before signing your employment contract
Before you’ve even been sent overseas, it’s in your best possible interests to hire a lawyer trained in the Defense Base Act to review your employment contract to make sure there aren’t any glaring errors or legal issues that will leave you in a legal no-man’s-land if something were to happen to you while on the job.