The Defense Base Act ("DBA")
The Defense Base Act, 44 U.S.C. §§ 1651 et seq., is often referred to as the DBA or federal comp. The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore Act ("LHWCA") and is a federal statute enacted by the U.S. Congress for the purpose of providing workers' compensation benefits to civilian men and women injured on U.S. military bases or installations while employed outside of the United States. Essentially, the DBA is designed to provide federal workers' compensation benefits to civilian employees of defense contractors.
Like the Longshore Act, the DBA provides greater wage replacement benefits than the New York or New Jersey state workers' compensation programs. Therefore, in nearly every instance, an injured person will receive a larger weekly paycheck under the DBA than he or she would under the New York or New Jersey state workers' compensation programs.
Defense Base Act benefits are available to those who were injured while working abroad on a U.S. military installation. Generally, workers who are employed by defense contractors and are engaged in activities such as personal protection, construction, technical support, the sale and installation of infrastructure matériel, etc., are covered by the Defense Base Act and should receive increased wage replacement benefits.
YOU NEED EXPERIENCED LAWYERS
What you are entitled to under the Defense Base Act is not black and white. In fact, there are many cases where injured workers might be covered by the Defense Base Act or might be covered by the state compensation program. And in a lot of those cases, the employers and their insurance carriers automatically decide to provide state workers' compensation benefits without ever consulting with the injured workers. In other cases, employers and insurance carriers decide to provide DBA benefits to injured workers, but instead of using the statutory method for calculating wage replacement benefits, they use a much simpler formula that oftentimes leaves those injured workers receiving less money than they should.
The Defense Base Act is a powerful statute for those that it covers, but it is not easy to interpret or navigate. There are many ways that it can be misapplied and there are many hidden traps. If you think that there is any chance that you should be receiving DBA benefits or you are receiving them now, please contact lawyers who know how to handle DBA cases right away. No workers' compensation program will completely replace your normal wages while you are recuperating, and that is why you must be certain that you are getting every penny that you deserve and every bit of medical care that you need to get healthy again.
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