Compensation Is Possible
When employees working on federal facilities overseas are hurt, the Defense Base Act entitles them to certain benefits while they recover. Accidents are an unfortunate part of life but fortunately the Defense Base Act helps protect workers and their families following an injury.
The law requires employers to carry insurance in case of injury to provide for various benefits. The types of compensation and how much depend on the accident, injury, and circumstances of the claim. Speaking to one of the qualified Defense Base Act lawyers at Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, P.A. can help injured workers understand the claims process and how much their claim might be worth.
Benefits Under The Defense Base Act
Under the Defense Base Act, injured workers are entitled to reimbursement for any medical treatment, benefits for ongoing medical treatment, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation and death benefits to surviving family members. Some injuries may only require compensation for medical bills and some lost wages, other serious injuries may result in permanent, lifetime disabilities.
One of the most important benefits injured employees are entitled to is employer-paid medical treatment. No one should have to incur huge debt or possibly face bankruptcy simply because they were hurt on the job. Medical treatment under the Defense Base Act includes:
● Employee’s choice of treating physician
● Ongoing medical care as long as necessary to treat the condition
● Prescription drugs & Medical devices
● Mileage, parking, and other transportation costs related to medical treatment
While overseas, employees may have only one clinic on site to visit so they may receive treatment from that physician but not exercise their choice. However, once an employee has other options and elects to change his or her treating physician, he or she may not be able to switch unless the authorized treating physician makes a recommendation for a patient to see a specialist, and names that specialist.
There is a natural link between medical benefits and disability benefits. When workers are hurt, they may naturally miss time from work to recuperate and receive medical treatment. An injury causing workers to miss time from work is a disability.
The Defense Base Act has four categories of disabilities:
● Temporary total disability (TTD) – When employees are injured to the extent they cannot return to work in any capacity while recovering from an injury
● Temporary partial disability (TPD) – Injured workers are able to return to work but in a diminished capacity, thereby earning less than their usual wage
● Permanent total disability (PTD) – Usually caused by a catastrophic work injury, employees are no longer able to work due to their medical condition
● Permanent partial disability (PPD) – The employee suffers a permanent injury that while diminishes their earning capacity for their lifetime, does not prevent him or her from being able to work
Compensation [Compensation page] for disability benefits under The Defense Base Act:
● Temporary total disability – Two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages up to a maximum depending on the date of the injury
● Temporary partial disability – Two-thirds of the difference between what the employee’s average weekly wage was at the time of the injury and the wages he or she is able to earn in the diminished capacity
● Permanent total disability – Two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages up to a maximum depending on the date of the injury and which is subject to a cost of living adjustment every October 1st
● Permanent partial disability – Many disabilities have an earnings schedule for certain impairments, known as scheduled PPD. Other injuries not covered are unscheduled PPD and provide up to two-thirds of the worker’s lost earning capacity
Maximum And Minimum Disability Compensation Rates
If you or a loved one were hurt while working on a U.S. military base, overseas government installation, or other federal project outside the country, contact our office for a consultation about your case.
The attorneys of Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, P.A. have years of experience working with clients, employers, claims adjusters and federal administrators to resolve Base Defense Act injury claims. These benefits are vital to ensuring the wellbeing and financial security of injured workers and their families and our attorneys fight hard to make sure they are paid.
Maximum And Minimum Disability Compensation Rates
Under the Defense Base Act, there are maximum compensation rates above which insurance companies do not have to pay lost wages. On October 1, 2015, the maximum compensation rate for disability compensation was increased to $1,406.00. The Department of Labor’s Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC) sets these rates and adjusts them every year. Injury victims with permanent total disabilities will have their compensation adjusted each year accordingly.
Calculating Average Weekly Wages
The Defense Base Act bases average weekly wages on the following variables:
● (Earnings/days worked) x (300/260)
● Earnings should be the same as similarly established worker
● Disability benefits should be a reasonable estimate of earning capacity at the time of injury
In tragic cases of workplace fatalities, the Defense Base Act provides income benefits and burial expenses for surviving dependents. Dependents are usually spouses and minor children but may include other members of the deceased’s household who relied upon his or her income for support.
Death benefits under the Defense Base Act include:
● $3,000 reimbursement for burial expenses
● 50 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wages to spouses or minor children with no other surviving parent married to the deceased at the time of his or her passing
● 16.6 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wages for surviving children with surviving parent still married to the deceased at the time of his or her passing
● Spousal benefits are lifetime awards unless the surviving spouse remarries
● Dependent children may receive benefits until the age of 23 if they are in school, otherwise benefits terminate the age of 18
Non-U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. are also covered by benefits under the Defense Base Act. However, some disability benefits may be commuted to reduced rates. Under The Act, permanent disability and death benefits may be commuted to one-half the present value of future compensation and paid in one lump sum.
Permanently disabled workers may decide to receive vocational rehabilitation services to retrain or learn new skills to help them return to work in some capacity. These types of benefits are typically only available to U.S. residents and can be obtained free from the Department of Labor.