Determining whether your employment falls within Defense Base Act coverage can be very difficult if you do not have an experienced attorney. Diamond Law Practice, PLLC can zealously represent your best interests and help you determine your entitlement to DBA compensation and medical benefits. 

There are two critical provisions of the Defense Base Act that you should be aware of when determining if your employment is covered under the DBA. First, there is a statutory presumption of coverage rooted in Section 20(a) of the LHWCA, as extended by the DBA. So long as any "reasonable inference" from the facts supports coverage, coverage can be found. Second, the DBA is the exclusive remedy for recovery, bars other tort remedies, and precludes workers' compensation claims under all other jurisdictions.  In that regard, 42 U.S.C.S. §1651(c) states:

The liability of an employer, contractor (or any subcontractor or subordinate subcontractor with respect to the contract of such contractor) under this chapter shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability of such employer, contractor, subcontractor, or subordinate contractor to his employees (and their dependents) coming within the purview of this chapter, under the workmen’s compensation law of any State, Territory, or other jurisdiction, irrespective of the place where the contract of hire of any such employee may have been made or entered into.

 
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The Defense Base Act sets forth six categories of employment that come within the purview of the Act. The DBA covers any employment:

(1) at any military, air, or naval base acquired after January 1, 1940, by the United States from any foreign government; or

(2) upon any lands occupied or used by the United States for military or naval purposes in any Territory or possession outside the continental United States (including the United States Naval Operating Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and the Canal Zone); or

(3) upon any public work in any Territory or possession outside the continental United States (including the United States Naval Operating Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and the Canal Zone), if such employee is engaged in employment at such place under the contract of a contractor (or any subcontractor or subordinate subcontractor with respect to the contract of such contractor) with the United States; but nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to apply to any employee of such a contractor or subcontractor who is engaged exclusively in furnishing materials or supplies under his contract;

(4) under a contract entered into with the United States or any executive department, independent establishment, or agency thereof (including any corporate instrumentality of the United States), or any subcontract, or subordinate contract with respect to such contract, where such contract is to be performed outside the continental United States and at places not within the areas described in subparagraphs (1)–(3) of this subdivision, for the purpose of engaging in public work, and every such contract shall contain provisions requiring that the contractor (and subcontractor or subordinate contractor with respect to such contract) (1) shall, before commencing performance of such contract, provide for securing to or on behalf of employees engaged in such public work under such contract the payment of compensation and other benefits under the provisions of this chapter, and (2) shall maintain in full force and effect during the term of such contract, subcontract, or subordinate contract, or while employees are engaged in work performed thereunder, the said security for the payment of such compensation and benefits, but nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to apply to any employee of such contractor or subcontractor who is engaged exclusively in furnishing materials or supplies under his contract;

(5) under a contract approved and financed by the United States or any executive department, independent establishment, or agency thereof (including any corporate instrumentality of the United States), or any subcontract or subordinate contract with respect to such contract, where such contract is to be performed outside the continental United States, under the Mutual Security Act of 1954, as amended (other than title II of chapter II thereof unless the Secretary of Labor, upon the recommendation of the head of any department or other agency of the United States, determines a contract financed under a successor provision of any successor Act should be covered by this section), and not otherwise within the coverage of this section, and every such contract shall contain provisions requiring that the contractor (and subcontractor or subordinate contractor with respect to such contract) (A) shall, before commencing performance of such contract, provide for securing to or on behalf of employees engaged in work under such contract the payment of compensation and other benefits under the provisions of this chapter, and (B) shall maintain in full force and effect during the term of such contract, subcontract, or subordinate contract, or while employees are engaged in work performed thereunder, the said security for the payment of such compensation and benefits, but nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to apply to any employee of such contractor or subcontractor who is engaged exclusively in furnishing materials or supplies under his contract; and

(6) outside the continental United States by an American employer providing welfare or similar services for the benefit of the Armed Forces pursuant to appropriate authorization by the Secretary of Defense, irrespective of the place where the injury or death occurs, and shall include any injury or death occurring to any such employee during transportation to or from his place of employment, where the employer or the United States provides the transportation or the cost thereof.


 

Workers Typically Covered Under the Defense Base Act

Translators & Linguists                    Truck Drivers                  

Security Specialists                         Canine Handlers            

Food Service Providers                   Weapons Instructors     

Aerostat Operators                          Embassy Workers          

USAID Workers                                US State Department Workers

Helicopter Pilots                               Personal Security Escorts

Aircraft Mechanics                            Administrative Personnel

Educators                                          Mechanics

Engineers                                          Certain NATO Workers

 
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Helicopter and Aircraft Crashes

As a condition of your overseas employment, you may be required to travel via military aircraft into remote areas of Afghanistan, Iraq, or Kuwait. Should you sustain injury before, during or following air travel you are entitled to recovery compensation benefits and lifetime medical expenses under the Defense Base Act. Further, if you have lost a loved one as a result of a helicopter or aircraft crash, you may be entitled to lifelong death compensation benefits. Diamond Law Practice, PLLC can offer you free consultation regarding what benefits are available to you and your family. 

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Hearing Loss Claims 

While working overseas, you may be exposed to loud gunfire, IED explosions, aircraft noise, and mortar attacks. As a result, you may develop hearing loss, tympanic membrane perforation, or tinnitus. These conditions are covered under Section 7 of the LHWCA, as extended by the Defense Base Act. Diamond Law Practice, PLLC can help you obtain the compensation benefits and medical treatment necessary to help you recover from your hearing loss injury. 

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Training and Recreational Injuries

Oftentimes, as a condition of your overseas employment you are required to maintain a certain level of physical fitness and personal hygiene. Injuries and deaths sustained while jogging, training, weight-lifting, showering, and playing recreational sports are covered under the Zone of Special Danger Doctrine. This area of the law is very factually specific, and only a qualified attorney should handle these types of claims. Contact Diamond Law Practice, PLLC to discuss your injury today. 

 
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