Steps to Take After Being Injured in Iraq

Map of Iraq

It is no secret that working overseas as a military contractor can be a stressful and hazardous job. With hazards ranging from hostile terrorists to unsafe working conditions, the risk for injury can be much greater than that at home. In addition to this heightened risk, it can be hard to know what course of action to take after an injury. Even though there are different laws that handle injuries sustained by military contractors, these laws can help military contractors obtain the recovery and compensation they deserve.

One such law, the Defense Base Act (DBA) provides injured civilian contractors with valuable benefits. For example, a contractor injured while working in Iraq under a contract with the U.S. government would be entitled to recover all reasonable and necessary medical care for injuries and compensation, generally payable at 2/3 of the contractor’s average weekly pay. In addition, the severity of the injury can change how long the compensation will last, with more serious injuries such as head or spinal injuries entitling an injured contractor to receive benefits for life. In order to get to this point, however, it is important to take the appropriate measures to ensure that your case or claim is not hindered by unnecessary or avoidable red tape.

Seek Medical Attention

Naturally, one of the first things you will want to do in any situation in which you are injured is to seek appropriate medical attention. Not only is prompt medical attention necessary to avoid any further injury resulting from a delay in treatment, but seeking prompt medical attention can also help preserve a record of the injury close in time to the injury.

Fortunately, under the DBA, you have the right to select your own treating physician and still receive the benefits you deserve.

Report Your Injury

In addition to seeking prompt medical attention, it is vital that you report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. While you will have 30 days from the time of the accident to report the claim, it is always better to be proactive when possible, and to take care of matters before things get worse. When deciding when to report, however, it is always important to use your best judgment, as there are a number of factors, ranging from the severity of the injury to any applicable protocol, that could alter how and when you report your injury.

Gather Evidence

As with any other workers’ compensation case, gathering evidence can be an easily overlooked step in a case after an injury, especially if the injury sustained is serious in nature. It is crucial, however, to comply with any employer protocol before you take any first steps towards gathering evidence. Each employer may have their own way of doing things, and working with the rules can even help you easily obtain the necessary evidence.

There are several ways to collect evidence of your injury. One of the earliest things you will generally be able to do is to record the events of the incident yourself. You may be aware that, as time goes on, the memory can get a little fuzzy on the smaller details. In addition, you should not limit yourself to just handwriting information about the event in which the injury was sustained. Emails are an effective way of placing your employer on notice of an injury, and tracking events in general. Any information following, and related to, the accident can be helpful. Such information can include:

  • the time and date of subsequent events;
  • any experiences or pain sustained since the accident;
  • the name of your treating physician;
  • any treatments administered to your injuries; and,
  • any medications prescribed.

Another type of record that can go a long way in supporting your claim is the medical record, which can contain professional diagnoses on the victim, and can help prove the severity or the length of time a person was injured for.

You might also be aware that even the smallest details can have great significance once more evidence surfaces. Another way to obtain evidence is to take photographs of both the scene where the injury was sustained, and to photograph your own injuries in order to have a record on hand should the case go to court.

Contact an Attorney

Finally, one of the most helpful things you can do, aside from seeking immediate medical attention if appropriate, is to contact a skilled, experienced attorney that handles specializes in your legal claim. Not only will an experienced attorney be able to handle the case and give you some peace of mind, but the attorney will also assist you in identifying any steps or procedures you may have missed. While it may be tempting to hire a local attorney that practices in a different area, hiring an attorney that handles your type of cases can make all the difference. Needless to say, the law is a broad area of study. There are a great number of rules that apply in different situations and working with an attorney that is familiar with those rules can help a great deal. Here at Barnett, Lerner, Karsen & Frankel, P.A. we can walk you though every step of the process and ensure you get the justice you deserve.