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Does the Defense Base Act Cover Psychological Issues?


Civil contractors who have worked on military bases for the United States government may be entitled to compensation for work-related psychological injuries. Working in warzones can have the same psychological effect on a government contracted worker as stationed military personnel. From witnessing roadside bombings to being a victim of heinous crimes such as kidnapping and other war crimes, these traumatic experiences can cause aftereffects throughout the rest of the victim’s life. Here’s what you need to know when filing a Defense Base Act claim for psychological injuries.

What is the Definition of a Psychological Injury?

Working overseas and being away from family and friends is stressful as is. Unfortunately, being exposed to gunfire, air raids, and violence heightens the stress of being away from home. The conditions of living in a war-torn area can result in mental health concerns for workers. From depression and anxiety to other types of psychological issues, knowing the signs and symptoms of these mental problems can help an individual get the care and treatment they need to manage lifelong mental illness.

Signs and Symptoms of Psychological Injuries

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms during or after completion of your contracted military job, you may have a psychological injury and should seek help from a doctor:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawn socially
  • Anger
  • Aggressiveness
  • Trouble concentrating on tasks
  • Startled easily
  • Having flashbacks of incidents
  • Reckless behavior

Common Psychological Issues Covered Under The Defense Base Act


PTSD, also known as a post-traumatic stress disorder, happens when someone has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a terrorist attack, ground combat, or a personal assault. People with PTSD may experience the following:

  • Re-experience the trauma through flashbacks and nightmares
  • Avoiding people and places reminiscent of the trauma
  • Lack of concentration
  • Easily irritated


While many people experience anxiety from time to time, it can become a debilitating mental disorder for persons who experience high levels of anxiety for prolonged periods. Some symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Worrying excessively
  • Easily agitated
  • Feeling restless
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Lack of concentration
  • Easily irritated
  • Tensing of muscles
  • Trouble falling and staying asleep
  • Experiencing panic attacks
  • Avoiding social activities and situations
  • Irrational fears


Depression is a mental disorder that negatively affects how a person feels. While depression is often manageable, it can still be a life long battle for many people. Symptoms of depression may include:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Sleeping too much or trouble sleeping
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Lack of concentration
  • Thoughts of suicide

How to File a DBA Claim for Psychological Injuries

Filing a Defense Base Act claim can be an extremely taxing task, and those who are suffering from psychological injuries do not need added stress on top of an already difficult situation. However, enlisting the help of a DBA attorney can make all the difference.

When it comes to your psychological injuries, you want to be confident that you are getting sufficient psychological care as well as the highest amount of compensation you may rightly deserve. An attorney who is experienced in Defense Base Act claims will know how to secure the treatments you are entitled to while avoiding potential pitfalls.

Contact a Defense Base Act Attorney Today

If you or a loved one needs assistance with filing a Defense Base Act Claim, or appealing a denied claim, we can help. As a workers’ compensation law firm, we are proud to represent injured contract employees for the government in San Antonio and the rest of the nation. Contact The Law Office of George P. Escobedo & Associates, PLLC today at (210) 807-3178 to learn more about how we can help you receive compensation for your psychological injuries and your rights as a contracted worker under the Defense Base Act.

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