DBA Injury Claims

Know your legal rights! The Defense Base Act might cover you if you have been injured overseas.Brian Karsen


Barnett Lerner et al focuses on representing injured workers covered under the Defense Base Act, local Longshoreman, crew members and individuals covered under State law.

Civilian contractors, injured while working overseas, are covered under the Defense Base Act. (DBA)  The DBA’s process and benefits are defined by Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.  This law provides an injured worker with entitlement to medical care paid for by the Employer and their Insurance Carrier along with payment of lost wages while disabled during recovery.  The law covers physical injuries from an accident, repetitive trauma injuries as well as psychiatric injuries arising from stressful employment.  An injured worker must prove an accident occurred in the course and scope of employment or working conditions existed which either caused the injury or aggravated or accelerated a prior condition. In the event the injured worker establishes the accident, injury and disability, then the injured worker may be entitled to wage disability benefits during recovery.  Wage benefits are typically paid at 2/3 the average weekly wage earned prior to the accident.  Benefits continue during recovery, however once the injured worker reaches maximum improvement and can return to work, the right to ongoing benefits must be evaluated.

Employers and their Carriers have the legal right to challenge a claim filed under the Defense Base Act.  Often times there is a dispute regarding whether an accident occurred, whether stressful conditions existed and whether there is a disabling injury.  Additionally, Employers and Carriers have the legal right to challenge a case they deem untimely.  Under the law, an injured worker must typically notify the Employer within 30 days of an accident (or up to one year for an occupational disease) and must typically file a claim with the U.S. Department of Labor within one year. (two years for an occupational disease)  Failure to timely notify the Employer or failure to timely file the claim with the U.S. Department of Labor may result is a case being dismissed.  At times, especially with a mental health injury or occupational disease such as COPD, a worker is not aware they were injured until told by a medical physician.  Note, if your doctor notifies you of a work related injury, you should email the employer immediately with a copy of the medical report attached and file the claim with the U.S. Department of Labor within the time limits discussed above.

This website provides significant information about the Defense Base Act and we urge you to read more so you become aware of your legal rights.

In addition to Defense Base Act claims, our firm also represents injured stevedores covered under the Longshore Act, crew members covered under the Jones Act and workers covered under State law.

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