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 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 the 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 a 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.
- 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 is 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.
At Capron & Avgerinos, we have deep experience helping contractors get justice through the Defense Base Act. 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.
Call Capron & Avgerinos
Call Capron & Avgerinos now at (800) 535-4542 if you believe you are entitled to compensation under the Defense Base Act. We are ready to assist you over the phone or in person. We perform our cases on a contingent fee basis, which means we are not paid unless you recover compensation for your claim. Call Capron & Avgerinos at (800) 535-4542 – let us show how we can deliver results for you.