Many people are intrigued with the idea of taking a job working for a U.S. contractor overseas. You travel to new and often exotic places and usually, the pay is very good. You need to know some information before you sign up, though, to make sure you are protected if you are injured while on the job. The Defense Base Act provides disability compensation, medical treatment, and vocational rehabilitation to workers injured at work and death benefits to survivors when the worker is killed on the job. You need not be a U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident to obtain these benefits.
Ask your employer if you are covered under the Defense Base Act. If the answer is no, ask what worker’s compensation program covers you while you are working overseas. Make sure you know the name, address & telephone number of the person you should report to if you are injured. Also ask for the name, address & telephone number of the insurance company that will handle a claim for you if you are injured.
If you have been injured on an overseas job:
The first thing you should do is contact your employer immediately. This will likely be done in the form of an incident report, but, depending on the circumstance, maybe not. Make sure the employer knows as soon as possible. Next, request authority from your employer to get medical treatment from a physician of your choice. If you are unable to contact your employer, or in an emergency, go to the nearest hospital or doctor, but contact the employer as soon as possible.
If you are disabled more than 3 days, contact the employer or insurance company for your compensation payments. These are due 14 days after your employer has notice of the injury.
Critically important! You must give written notice of your injury to your employer using the LS 201 form AND to the Office of Workers Compensation Programs within 30 days.
These first steps are just the beginning of what can sometimes be a complicated process. Often, you are best served by contacting a law firm that has experience in the field of overseas injuries which are covered by the Defense Base Act.