Many people assume that the life of a military contractor is a lot like Michael Bay’s Benghazi film 13 Hours. That film probably had more action sequences in two hours than most contractors see in an entire tour. But nevertheless, most contractors do serve in hot spots like Libya.
However, other contractors serve in environments nothing at all like Benghazi. In fact, some of them are considered resort areas. Many people consider other places a good opportunity to experience another culture or just get away from it all.
Regardless of the environment, the potential for injury is always there. In the Global War on Terror, there are no “front lines” and “rear areas.” A gas attack in a Tokyo subway is almost as likely as a huge car bomb in Baghdad. So, the Defense Base Act is always there. The DBA provides compensation for:
- Lost wages, and
- Medical bills.
Most victims receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage for the duration of their temporary disabilities. Furthermore, the DBA usually pays medical bills directly. That includes both initial and follow up medical care. Most victims who have attorneys never see any doctor bills at all.
Because of its strategic location, a large number of American forces gather in Southern Europe. It is closer to the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region than Germany but also protected by the Mediterranean Sea. Where there are large concentrations of American servicemembers, there are usually large concentrations of contractors, as well.
Like many contractors, the ones who serve in Italy usually serve in combat support roles. The army is not a culinary school, engineering school, or medical school. Many of the chefs, construction workers, medics, and others who serve in the army are either unwilling or unable to work in a foreign country. So, contractors pick up the slack.
Slip-and-fall injuries are probably the biggest injury problem for these individuals. The combination of wet spots on floors and individuals hurrying from one place to another is often a very bad one. Furthermore, the government estimates that most construction site fatalities are fall-related.
Many people both here and abroad question why large numbers of Americans are stationed in Italy. The same thing goes for Japan. In the immediate post-World War II era, a large American garrison made sense. But a few years ago, the Japanese amended their constitution and made allowances for a slightly larger military force. Moreover, some high-profile incidents have strained relations between the American military and the Japanese people.
Nevertheless, especially in light of North Korea’s continuing threat, the Americans are probably in the Land of the Rising Sun on a permanent basis. Or at least, they are not leaving anytime soon.
Contractors in Japan often use keyboards instead of machine guns. Many people believe that future wars may feature more cyberattacks than frontal assaults. Contractors are well-positioned to provide these services, because the traditional military simply is not this type of institution. Long hours in front of a computer screen is not good for one’s vision or overall health. Additionally, the excessive keyboard use often leads to problems like carpal tunnel syndrome. The Defense Base Act pays injury compensation for occupational diseases like these. Even if the victim had a pre-existing condition, full financial compensation is usually available.
This Indian Ocean atoll is literally one of the most isolated places on earth. It is also an important surveillance/supply outpost for the Global War on Terror. Furthermore, according to rumor, the CIA once operated a terrorist interrogation site on Diego Garcia.
Most of the contractors here are longshoremen. Everything, and we do mean absolutely everything, that comes and goes must move by ship. That means the docks are busy pretty much 24/7/365. With all the heavy equipment moving in and out, injuries are pretty much inevitable.
After an injury in a place like Syria, a good field hospital is just a few minutes away and a large military hospital in Europe is just a short flight away. But on Diego Garcia, there is nothing but slightly-advanced first aid. Moreover, the closest large medical facility is probably in Singapore, which is some 2,000 miles away. In the time it takes to reach help, a fall victim’s condition could deteriorate rapidly. As a result, the medical bills could be much higher than they would otherwise be, especially for items like physical therapy.
But regardless of the conditions, full DBA compensation is still available. Victims should not be rewarded or punished based on the geographic locations of their deployment injuries.
Some people place this island alongside Japan, Italy, and other places in the “why are we still here” category. After all, the major earthquake was almost 10 years ago. Some of the overseas contractors who serve in Haiti were in junior high school in 2010. But recovery in a place like Haiti is a lot slower than it is in a place like Houston.
Almost ever since it achieved independence around 1840, Haiti has consistently been one of the poorest countries in the world. Its European colonial masters stripped most of the island’s natural resources and ruled with an iron fist. So, when the overlords withdrew, they left behind a poor country whose people had no experience in self-government. As a result, a series of military strongmen have ruled Haiti for most of its history. The corruption and inefficiency seriously hampers things like earthquake relief efforts.
Soldiers and contractors are in Haiti to ensure that aid reaches its intended destination in a timely fashion. So, these soldiers often run afoul of local warlords. Firefights are not uncommon in these encounters. If contractors get hurt, they can count on DBA benefits to help them get better. However, the insurance company does not simply give away this money. They often fight these awards, claiming things like lack of causation or unreasonable medical expenses. An experienced attorney is the best way to level the playing field.
To get an attorney like that on your side, contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen & Frankel, P.A.