Defense Base Act Claims Jump in 2019
Recent events abroad underscore the risks undertaken by civilian employees who assist the U.S. military – and the price they pay.
As reported widely, U.S. defense contractors working abroad have died as a result of tragic events:
- In Iraq, a U.S. civilian contractor was killed on December 27 as a result of a rocket attack on a base where U.S. service members and civilian contractors were located.
- In Kenya, on January 5, two civilian contractors working for the Defense Department were killed in a terror attack.
Commenting on the attack in Kenya, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command, said, “The work that our U.S. forces are doing in East Africa bolsters partnerships, counters malign influence, and maintains critical pressure on terrorist networks. Our efforts directly contribute to counterterrorism, maritime surveillance, and intelligence sharing missions with our Kenyan partners. This activity enables enhanced security and stability in the region and for America.”
Defense Contractors Incur Serious Risk
His statement applies to defense contractors, too. They are incurring serious risk on the job in an exceedingly dangerous industry.
In fact, According to data reported on the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs website, the number of Defense Base Act (DBA) claims rose from 6,694 in fiscal 2018 to 8,447 in fiscal 2019, an increase of more than 26 percent. By contrast, during the previous year, DBA claims rose by 1 percent. The main reason for the marked increase is a jump in DBA claims in Afghanistan and Iraq, which together accounted for 68 percent of all DBA claims in fiscal 2019.
The DBA provides workers’ compensation protection to civilian employees working outside the United States on U.S. military bases or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or for national defense. The number of DBA claims does not constitute the complete or official casualty statistics of civilian contractor injuries and deaths. But the reported claims do underscore the risks that civilian contractors are facing as they help soldiers protect the United States overseas.
A $635,000 DBA Settlement
At Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen, we can personally attest to the risks that defense contractors face. We have helped injured contractors recover compensation for their injuries under the DBA. For example, we negotiated a $635,000 settlement for a 53-year-old interpreter who suffered multiple injuries while deployed in Baghdad. The settlement included compensation for his disability and ongoing medical treatment over the course of his lifetime. You can learn more about our DBA work and expertise here.
Thanks to the DBA, at least civilian contractors have recourse to gain some compensation for the price they have paid while serving our country. This blog post of mine provides more detail about who is covered and the benefits the DBA provides. This post from 2019 discusses how defense contractors suffering from PTSD can get DBA relief.
Call Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen
If an employee who is covered by the Defense Base Act is injured, he or she is entitled to disability and medical benefits. No two cases are the same, and the amount of compensation varies per situation. This is just one of many reasons an injured worker should contact an attorney that is experienced in Defense Base Act claims. Call Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen now at (855) 208-3699 if you believe you are entitled to compensation under the Defense Base Act. We are ready to assist. Let us show how we can deliver results for you.