One thing is certain, there are many civilian contractors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as "a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault" (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs).
If you read my book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case: The Ultimate Straight Talk Roadmap To The Medical Treatment and Money You and Your Family Deserve, or been on The Turley and Mara Law Firm website, you have probably seen me rant about how "PTSD" is the wrong title for post-traumatic stress. It shouldn't be called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It should be called Post Traumatic Stress Injury. Because in reality that is what it is: an injury. This injury means you have just as much of a right to get help in the form of medical and financial benefits as a civilian contractor that lost an arm overseas.
So where do you start with building your Post Traumatic Stress Injury DBA case?
PTSD Statute of Limitations
The first thing that you need to know is that even if it has been years since you worked overseas - you are not necessarily barred from bringing a Defense Base Act Post Traumatic Stress Disorder claim. A DBA PTSD claim has a different statute of limitations than most DBA claims.
In essence, you can bring your DBA claim up to one year after you knew or should have known that you suffer an injury that was caused by your employment overseas. Typically, that is when a medical professional diagnosis you with having PTSD that was caused by your being overseas in a war zone like Iraq or Afghanistan.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Under some circumstances you may be able to win your claim by proving that you filed within one year of when you knew that you had a wage loss based upon your PTSD injuries.
The long and short of the matter is this. If you suspect that you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms and you worked overseas as a civilian contractor - you need to hire an honest Defense Base Act lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner that you file your claim the more likely that you will prevail.
However, even if it has been 3-4 years or even many more years since you worked overseas in a war zone, you can still successfully prevail in brining a Defense Base Act claim.
File a Claim
You need to file a claim under the Defense Base Act (DBA). This is a workers’ compensation program for overseas civilian contractors. A claim is started by filing a form LS-203 with the United States Department of Labor and providing a copy to the employer you worked for overseas.
You need medical treatment in order to get better, right? Under the DBA you are entitled to this medical treatment. However, the DBA insurance company is probably going to deny your claim of a Post Traumatic Stress Injury and refuse to provide the medical treatment you deserve.
This is why you need a lawyer and you need the best DBA lawyer you can get. AND you need them from the very beginning, potentially even before you file your claim.
You are also entitled to what is called a free choice of physician. For many folks, finding a doctor that is experienced with combat theater PTSD is difficult. Because of this, we sometimes need to hook folks up with good psychologists via video conference. Many of our clients actually prefer this, because of the convenience.
You Don’t Have To Pay Any Attorney
For the most part, the insurance company should always pay your attorney fees. You should never have to directly pay your attorney in order to handle one of these claims.
Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find a seasoned Defense Base Act lawyer that knows how to handle civilian contractors (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Claims. These DBA claims are under Federal Law so you can hire any specialized DBA attornoey from anywhere in the U.S.
With this in mind, we are from San Diego and have 25 years of experience with Longshore and Harbor Worker Compensation Act due to the large population of shipyard workers. The DBA is an extension of The Longshore Act, which means that we have been handling DBA cases since before it was commonplace for American civilians were going over to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now The Turley and Mara Law Firm is one of the two largest DBA Law Firms in the world.
While you are either temporarily totally disabled or permanently and totally disabled (these are legal terms which basically translate into you not being able to work in a war zone due to the PTSD); you are entitled to significant weekly disability benefits. In most instances, your lawyer can probably negotiate a lump-sum settlement or an ongoing weekly disability benefit.
Often times these cases settle for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The first step is research and study so be sure to order my book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case, for FREE or take advantage of the multiple pages of free content on our website so you know and understand exactly what you are going to be up against.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding getting help for your Post Traumatic Stress Injury
or your DBA case in general,
give us a call today at 619-234-2833.
We're here to help.