The Defense Base Act (DBA) allows workers' compensation benefits to injured contractors and subcontractors working under U.S. government contracts on military bases overseas or in the U.S. Filing a DBA claim is a complicated process. Without experience or knowledge of the DBA claims process, the slightest error could put your benefits on hold, or worse, denied. Here are some tips to get your Defense Base Act claim off to a good start.
Report Your Injury
After sustaining an injury, it's important to report the accident to your supervisor. Make sure you inform your supervisor in writing so that the insurance company can't claim you failed to provide notice of your injury.
It's crucial to ensure the following information is included in your report:
- Date and time when your injury occurred
- The location where the injury happened
- Names of witnesses to your injury
- Parts of the body that were injured
Take detailed notes and clear photographs. Make sure to keep this evidence somewhere safe until you can speak to an experienced lawyer.
You will also need the names of anyone who witnessed your injury. You should get their phone numbers, addresses, and e-mails too.
Seek Medical Attention
Whether you've been injured within the U.S. or overseas, it's critical that you seek medical attention for your injury as soon as possible. Although the insurance company might suggest a physician, you are allowed to choose your own doctor for your treatment.
For an accident overseas, it's essential to ensure that you take the following information with you before you leave to avoid any complications in getting the information once you return to the U.S.:
- Name of hospital
- Name of doctor(s)
- Medical treatments and procedures received
- Copies of X-rays, MRIs, and any other medical records that will be pertinent to your claim.
Within 10 days of your accident, your employer is responsible for submitting a Form LS-202 (Employer's First Report of Injury) with the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP). Follow up with your employer to confirm that proper filing has been done on your behalf to ensure your eligibility. Missing deadlines can be detrimental to your claim.
Know the Qualification Criteria
If you have been deployed to a warzone, you do not have to be physically working at the time to be eligible for compensation under the Defense Base Act.
Avoid Giving Statements to the Insurance Company
Do not speak to the insurance company without first consulting with a lawyer. Your statements can be used to deny your injury claim.
Enlist The Help of a Defense Base Act Attorney
Not every workers' compensation lawyer has experience with DBA claims. So, ensuring your attorney is experienced in filing DBA claims can increase your chances of a favorable decision. A DBA attorney will review your claim rigorously to ensure that all required information and paperwork has been submitted timely.
Take the worry and stress out of filing a DBA claim and concentrate on healing from your injuries.
Contact The Law Office of George P. Escobedo & Associates, PLLC at (210) 807-3178 for more information about how we can assist you with your Defense Base Act Claim. We are proud to represent eligible contract employees of the government in San Antonio and throughout the United States.