Defense Base Act Compensation for Unusual Injuries

Long Beach Lawyers Explain
Defense Based Act and “Unusual” Injuries Abroad

U.S. Government contractors operating abroad are required to provide workers compensation for their employees by a law called the Defense Base Act (DBA). This obligation extends to providing workers comp benefits for anyone employed overseas by the company –  regardless of the nationality of the employee.

Because overseas employees are working in “danger zones,” “war zones” and “hostile environments” the monetary compensation is typically high . . . but there is also a much greater risk of obscure, unusual, or severely traumatic work injuries.

In recognition of this greater possibility of unusual and atypical injuries, the Defense Base Act often requires workers comp payments for injuries that are not typically experienced in ordinary work settings, and not covered under traditional workers’ comp.

Government Contractors Working Abroad

Government Contractors working abroad may be entitled to DBA Disability Benefit for a broad range of unusual injuries. For example: situations and circumstances that occur in the Middle East (including Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kuwait) may give rise to unique injuries or illnesses not likely be covered under regular workers compensation, but recognized under the DBA.

A case in point is  Defense Base Act compensation regularly awarded for ocular (eye) injuries. These injuries can be combat-related, work-related or simply accidental, and are considerably more common during wartime and/or in desert settings. Eyes are particularly vulnerable to serious injuries from tiny flying particles that might only minimally injure other parts of the body. These eye injuries can be caused by munitions or from sand storms or other airborne debris. Though unlikely to be seen in a domestic workers’ compensation case, they are commonly paid claims under the Defense Base Act.

Another example of an “unusual” DBA claim involved a very tragic and unusual case in Lebanon. In that situation a civilian contractor employee sadly died from an accidental overdose of pain medication – which he was taking after receiving a tattoo. Even though he received the tattoo off-base, the DBA claim was approved as “work-related” because of the proximity of the base to the tattoo parlor, the likelihood that an employee there would receive tattoos, and the over-the-counter availability in Lebanon of prescription-strength medication.

Most Common Defense Base Act Claims

However, our lawyers would like to point out that even US government contract workers in more “tame” settings such as Europe (including Germany, France, Italy or Spain) may be subject to injuries that give rise to Defense Base Act compensation claims.

Some of the most common Defense Base Act claims arise from:

  • Back Injury or Spinal Injury
  • Nail Gun Injuries
  • Noise Injuries and Hearing Loss
  • Paraplegia or Quadriplegia
  • Herniated Disc / Ruptured Disc
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder / PTSD
  • Automobile / Vehicle Accidents
  • Ocular / Eye Injuries and Blindness
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Broken Limbs, Arms, Legs, Ankles

Experienced Lawyers for Injured Government Contractors

The DBA laws provide a uniform system of for handling work injuries arising across multiple jurisdictions. Whether you live in Los Angeles, California, Chicago, Illinois or New York, New York – or you were injured in Lebanon or London, England, or Pakistan or Paris, France – the same federal workers comp protections apply to all US government contract employees under the Defense Base Act.

If you have been affected by a common or an unusual injury or illness while working abroad for a U.S. government contractor, our experienced Defense Base Act lawyers will provide you with a free consultation to help you understand your rights under the Defense Base Act, and help you obtain the maximum workers’ compensation you deserve for your injuries or disability.

Click Here for a free consultation with a Defense Base Act lawyer.