Q: I injured myself on the job. Am I still entitled to Defense Base Act benefits?
Yes. The benefits provided under the Defense Base Act are available to injured workers regardless of fault. You are not required to prove that the actions of your employer or a coworker led to your injuries. However, insurance companies frequently fight these claims.
Workers Covered by the Defense Base Act
The Defense Base Act (DBA) principally applies to civilian workers injured while they are employed by private contractors providing services to the United States military overseas. The DBA covers workers who:
- Are employed by private companies on United States military bases overseas.
- Work on public work contracts with any United States government agency, including construction and service contracts connected with national defense or war activities outside of the country.
- Were hired to work overseas on contracts approved and funded by the United States under the Foreign Assistance Act.
- Work for American employers providing welfare or similar services to the United Service Organizations outside the United States.
Defense Base Act Benefits
Injured employees are entitled to medical treatment until maximum medical improvement has been achieved. The DBA also provides disability benefits equal to two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly earnings, up to a maximum weekly benefit amount. Death benefits are paid at the rate of one-half of the worker’s average weekly wages to a surviving spouse or to one child. Two or more eligible survivors are entitled to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $1,436.48 per week. The DBA also provides for payment of reasonable funeral expenses.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies can boost their profits by limiting the amount they pay out in claims, and therefore may argue that you’re not entitled to full benefits when your actions contributed to your injuries. You need an experienced maritime attorney to fight for you and to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.