The Defense Base Act: Allowing Civilian Government Contractors to Recover Compensation for their Injuries
The United States government has long engaged in the practice of hiring private companies and contractors to perform certain functions overseas on military bases. Since the early 2000s, our government has established a long-term military presence in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, often placing civilian contractors in dangerous situations. In addition, civilian contractors are hired in less dangerous areas such as Europe and the Far East to build U.S. government buildings, a task that can often result in serious injury. Fortunately for civilian contractors who are injured while working overseas or on a military base, federal legislation known as the Defense Base Act entitles them to benefits to cover their lost income as well as their medical expenses.
Who is Covered under the Defense Base Act?
The Defense Base Act covers the following classes of people:
● Individuals who are working for private companies on United States military bases or on lands outside the United States used for military purposes, including those in U.S. possessions and territories;
● People who work on public works projects with an United States agency, including service and construction contracts that are related to war or national defense activities outside of the United States;
● Individuals who are working on contracts that are funded and approved pursuant to the Foreign Assistance Act, generally providing for services to allies, military equipment, materials, provided that the contract is performed outside of the United States; and
● People who are working for American employers providing welfare or similar services for the benefit of the United States Armed Forces outside of the United States, such as the USO.
What Kinds of Benefits Does the Defense Base Act Provide?
The provisions of the act are similar in function to state workers’ compensation programs in that every government contract that comes within the purview of the act requires that the contractor maintain insurance that will pay benefits to employees if they are injured. If an employee who is covered by the act is injured, he or she will receive disability and medical benefits if he or she is unable to work. The rate of compensation varies per situation including when the injury was sustained. This is just one of many reasons an injured worker should contact an attorney that is experienced in Defense Base Act claims. In cases of permanent disability, workers can receive benefits for life that are adjustable based on fluctuations in the annual cost of living. Under the act, injured workers are allowed to see the physician of his or her choice.
Contact a Chicago Defense Base Act Lawyer Today to Determine Whether You Have a Claim
If you have been injured while working overseas or on a United States military installation as a civilian contractor you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for your losses. The filing requirements regarding Defense Base Act claims are significantly different than those associated with a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim, so victims should be certain to speak with an attorney familiar with representing individuals with these kinds of claims. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Chicago defense base act attorney, call our office today at 800-535-4542.