Fighting for Injured Government Employees At Home & Abroad
The Defense Base Act (DBA), implemented in 1942, is a federal law that protects and compensates all civilian employees who are injured while working abroad for the U.S. government.
At Ashcraft & Gerel, we have more than 65 years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims, including claims under the Defense Base Act. If you have been injured on an overseas U.S. military facility or in the course of your contracted work for the government, you may be eligible for compensation under the Defense Base Act.
Who Is Covered by the Defense Base Act?
In order to receive coverage under the Defense Base Act, you must meet a few key criteria. If you meet the requirements and are injured while working abroad for the government, you are covered under this law regardless of your nationality.
The Defense Base Act covers civilian employees who:
- Work for private employers on an overseas U.S. military base or land used by the U.S. for military purposes.
- Are on a public works contract for a U.S. government agency that conducts work for national defense or war activities
- Work under a contract that the U.S. government approved and funded – this includes selling military equipment and services to U.S. allies
- Work for the USO or another company or organization that provides the military abroad with moral and welfare services
Workers covered by the DBA can include, but are not limited to:
- Clerical workers
- Documentation specialists
- Contract interpreters
- Security personnel
Benefits of the Defense Base Act
Much like the benefits of regular workers’ compensation, employees’ benefits under the Defense Base Act include medical, disability, and death. Benefits apply whether the injury happened while you were on the clock or not.
You may be eligible for:
- Permanent and temporary disability benefits: The Defense Base Act grants you 2/3 of your average weekly earnings up to the maximum amount. This number will change as the economy and average wage rates fluctuate.
- Death benefits: In the tragic event that you should pass away in the course of your work, benefits from the Defense Base Act still apply and will go to your family. They will receive ½ of your average weekly earnings at the time of death. This will go to your surviving spouse or oldest child. If you are not married and have no children, the benefits will go to your next of kin.
Both permanent disability and death benefits under the Defense Base Act apply for life.
More Information about the Defense Base Act
The Defense Base Act has many complicated legal nuances.
Some of the most important statutes of the Act include:
- All employers of workers who fulfill the above criteria are required by federal law to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. If your employer doesn’t follow this mandate and/or pay the amount in full, you as the injured employee – or your family in the event of your death – can sue the employer for tort damages.
- If you sue the company or employer for not providing you coverage if you are injured, the defendant cannot plead:
- That you assumed the risk when you took the job.
- Negligence of another employee.
- Contributory negligence, which is when you were injured partly or fully due to your own negligence.
- If your employer cannot cover the cost of your injury, they are violating a federal mandate and as such are guilty of a misdemeanor. If found guilty, they can be charged up to $10,000, up to a year in jail, or both.
- If you are injured on the job, you must notify your employer in writing within 30 days of the incident. An official claim must be filed within one year of the injury. It is very important to keep this time frame in mind. If you don’t follow these rules, you may be denied benefits.
Seek Justice with Help from Ashcraft & Gerel
No matter where you are in the world, if you are injured abroad while working for the U.S. government, you are entitled to benefits.
Some of the bigger Department of Defense and Department of State contractors include:
- Academi (formerly Blackwater)
- BAE Systems
- BL Harbert International
- Chenega Global
- Computer Science Corporation
- Garda Worldwide
- Global Linguist Solutions
- Honeywell International
- L3 Communications
- Patriot Group International