The DBA or Defense Base Act is a compensation program that covers private military contractors and civilian employees who get injured while working outside the United States on bases or working for companies under a United States Government contract for public works or national defense. Today, most claims are as a result of injuries sustained while working overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan.
As with any other field of law, there are numerous pitfalls to be avoided, and there are a couple of loopholes that you can take advantage of. Did you know that when you are deployed to a war zone and get hurt outside the battlefield, you can file for a defense base act claim? Yes, in such a situation, you don’t need to be physically working at the time of injury.
While you digest that, here are a couple of tips for filing a defense base act claim.
Report The Injury As Soon As You Can, No Matter How Small
It’s wise to report the injury immediately to the supervisor. Meeting them in person is perhaps the best method, but you can ideally email them and keep a copy of the email. This way, you will avoid any disputes by the insurance provider as you will have evidence of notifying the supervisor.
Make and Keep a List of Witnesses
This is an especially important step as it can be particularly hard, if not impossible to locate the injury witnesses after you return to the United States. So, include their names and contacts so that you don’t have a hard time reaching them once you are back home.
Keep A Diary Of All The Treatment You Received Overseas
Before leaving, ensure you do this along with the names of the doctors and hospitals as well as the type of treatment you received. Also, you will want to get all copies of all medical records you obtained overseas along with the copies of MRIs and Xrays. It’s not easy to get such records, particularly from foreign hospitals.
Be Honest and Upfront With The Doctors
Your DBA can be easily dismissed if the judge finds out that you have been lying. Having a past injury doesn’t mean that the employer isn’t liable for the current injury. They are liable even if the injury you sustained in a foreign country exacerbated your previous injury. Explain to the doctor the kind of work you did. Most of them will certainly understand.
Choose A Doctor Of Your Liking
Don’t settle for a doctor recommended by the insurance provider. You are entitled to a physician of your choice. So, if possible, choose a reputable doctor close to your home.
Use An Attorney
The injury can be severe to make the claim process an overwhelming task. So, contact an attorney as soon as you are injured for legal advice. There are many lawyers who specialize in DBA claims and they can ensure you are not taken advantage of by the insurance company. One of the best defense base act attorneys out there is Matthew Singer of Overseas Contractors law firm.