Defense Base Act Lawyer
A Defense Base Act lawyer is an attorney trained in getting injury compensation from large government contracting organizations and their insurance companies. Because the Defense Base Act is the only means of compensation for certain workplace injuries occurring overseas under federal contractor employment, an experienced attorney is a valuable ally when attempting to obtain payments for injuries covered in the act. Faced with a strong case, even a powerful government contracting company might be forced to fulfill its entire responsibility when they cause a personal injury.
For more information, contact the Attorney Group. We offer free, confidential, no-obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a case, we can connect you with an affiliated Defense Base Act lawyer who can assist you throughout the legal process.
Have You Seen a Defense Base Act Commercial?
You may have seen a Defense Base Act lawsuit commercial on television and wondered whether you or a loved one are eligible to pursue a claim against a government contractor or others. The purpose of this article is to provide you with additional information concerning your options.
What Is the Defense Base Act?
A Defense Base Act lawyer is an attorney who is knowledgeable about a specific type of workers’ compensation dispute, namely civilian contractors allegedly injured or killed while employed overseas, potentially but not necessarily in war risk situations similar to Iraq and Afghanistan. Injuries that form potential grounds for a Defense Base Act lawsuit may include the following:
- Wrongful death
- Back injuries, such as herniated discs
- Other joint and musculoskeletal problems
- Nerve damage
- Cancer or other degenerative disease related to sodium dichromate
- Other long-term or delayed onset diseases
- Traumatic damage from weapons
- Loss of limbs
If you or a loved one has been improperly compensated for an injury while working as a contractor overseas, then you may need to pursue proper compensation within the limits of a Defense Base Act lawsuit.
The text of the Defense Base Act begins in Section 1651 of Chapter 42 of the United States Code. There are a number of key laws that influence the behaviors of parties involved in a federal contractor’s workers’ compensation dispute:
- The Defense Base Act itself, which forms the main framework for claims.
- The War Hazards Compensation Act, a law that lets the Department of Labor supplement injury compensation under certain circumstances.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, of which the Defense Base Act is an extension.
The War Hazards Compensation Act is only effective when the injury stems from a war risk hazard. Federal contractor insurance carriers are often eligible to receive full repayment under this law when they pay for injuries caused in Iraq or Afghanistan.
How Does the Defense Base Act Work?
A lawsuit typically involves the input of the following parties:
- An injured individual
- The injured person’s employer
- Medical professionals
- Insurance representatives
- Attorneys for both the injured person and the defense
In these cases, each side has usually made a previous statement regarding how the injury occurred. The court uses the evidence and analysis provided by all participants to decide whether justice was served to the injured individual.
The main difference between a typical workers’ compensation claim and a Defense Base Act claim has to do with injury coverage. In workers’ comp claims, the injury would only be eligible for damages if it were sustained while working for the employer; that is, involved in tasks meant to benefit the business. In a Defense Base Act claim that comes out of a dangerous area — technically known as a zone of special danger — the assumption is that the employer must take responsibility for any injuries arising from relocating employees to a violent or otherwise risky location.
Is There a Defense Base Act Class Action?
There is no Defense Base Act class action pending as of March 28, 2018. Defense Base Act lawsuit attorneys are doubtful that a class action will be certified for overseas federal civilian contractors who are adversely affected by the injuries they sustained while employed overseas. Instead, if multiple Defense Base Act lawsuits are filed against the same contracting companies, these lawsuits may be consolidated for discovery and other pretrial proceedings.
When cases are consolidated in this way in federal court, it is called multidistrict litigation (MDL), and on a state level, it is known as a state court consolidated proceeding. MDLs are distinct from class actions, and it is generally agreed that consolidating cases is a more efficient and effective way of handling claims arising from injuries caused by lapses or malicious acts of federal contractors.
"These guys are a pleasure to work with -- very strategic and very responsive, which makes for a great business partner! I can tell that they are passionate about making sure all clients get the attention and expertise they deserve."5.0 Attorney Group Reviewed by Lauren A. on .
Have There Been Overseas Federal Contractor Injury Settlements?
Some cases settle early in the claims process, but it is not expected that there will be early Defense Base Act settlements. In most MDL or state court consolidated proceedings, initial trials, also known as bellwether trials, take place after a certain period of time. The purpose of these trials is for the parties to get an idea of the evidence and arguments that will be made, as well as see how courts will respond. After a certain number of cases have been tried, the parties are in a better position to determine if a case can be settled. It is expected that Defense Base Act settlements will follow this pattern.
Defense Base Act Lawsuit News
- 1941The U.S. Government enacts the Defense Base Act as an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act of 1927.
- 1942Congress passed the War Hazards Compensation Act to fund compensation for certain injuries to federal contract workers.
- 1958Amendments to cover a wider range of overseas workers are written into the DBA and enacted, including protections for those working on projects associated with the Mutual Security Act of 1954.
- 1995The Dayton Peace Agreement provided some further framework for claims made by U.S. contractors while injured under contract from foreign governments, supplementing the Mutual Security Act of 1954.
- 2010The events forming the basis for David Sickle, et al v. Torres Advanced Enterprise, et al, take place in Iraq.
- 2015The U.S. Court of Appeals dismisses many of the appellants' claims in Brink, et al v. Continental Insurance Company, et al, but refers some to other courts and highlights some evidence that could be the basis for civil cases.
- March 2018A decision in David Sickle, et al v. Torres Advanced Enterprise, et al, dismisses tort charges but says that Torres's contract violations are not preempted by the Defense Base Act exclusive liability terms.
How a Defense Base Act Lawyer Can Help
There are several laws through which a Defense Base Act lawyer can help victims recover damages. In some cases, victims may hold more than one party responsible for their injuries. If a party’s negligence resulted in the misrepresentation of or failure to report an injury, that party can be liable for the damages caused.
When negligence results in further injury, an injured party suffers loss in various ways. The law allows an injured party to pursue damages to recover those losses:
• Medical expenses
• Pain and suffering
• Lost wages
• Loss of ability to earn
• Scarring and disfigurement
When someone’s negligence results in the death of another person, family members of the deceased may recover damages. Wrongful death damages may include the following:
• Medical expenses incurred prior to death
• Conscious pain and suffering prior to death
• Loss of the economic support of the loved one
• Loss of the companionship of the loved one
• Funeral expenses
If the actions causing injury are malicious or so reckless that intent to harm can be inferred, the responsible party can be liable for punitive damages to punish wrongful conduct and deter similar conduct in the future.
Victims of injuries sustained while employed by a government contractor overseas, or the families of those killed, are encouraged to seek the advice of a Defense Base Act lawyer to learn more about their rights and remedies.