“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S. I want it straight up, with no double talk. I figure you do also. I always use plain English, with no sugarcoating, no B.S. lawyer talk, and no double talk-just old fashioned, unsweetened, unvarnished truth-just the way that I would want it.” -Bill Turley
When it comes to the ins and outs of filing a DBA claim, the first step you must take, is always tell the truth. Under no circumstances should you ever sugarcoat anything. The moment you start to over-exaggerate your injury, is the moment you can kiss your case good bye. Count on it.
I have seen it happen to many hard working civilian contractors before.
Never tell a lie, and always tell the truth. Your credibility with the Defense Base Act insurance company and the Judge depend on it.
Before you fill out any forms or start the process of your DBA claim, you need to do your research. Order my free book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case: The Ultimate Straight Talk Roadmap To The Medical Treatment and Money You and Your Family Deserve. It is full of helpful information that will only benefit you on your road to recovery with your Defense Base Act Claim.
Also you can check out my podcast at DBAradio.com where i cover important DBA issues.
Need Help Right Now?
Call our office today at (619) 234-2833. We are here to help. We are here to listen.
Defense Base Act Litigate vs Settlement
Okay let’s start from the top. I am always going to tell you what you need to hear. I’m not politically correct. It isn’t my style. What you are going to get from me is good old fashioned, unsweetened frankness. So here I go again.
One of the common questions I hear a lot is : Should I litigate or settle my Defense Base Act claim. The classic question: Should I litigate or settle?
Of course, I approach this with a unique angle of vast experience. I have one of the top two largest DBA law firms in the world that represents severely injured overseas civilian contractors.
This is partly because I am from San Diego. San Diego has more Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than any other area of America. Also because I have been handling these cases (Longshore Act - which the DBA is an extension of - since the 1980's and DBA since the early 1990's) for a long time.
My office is right by a Marine Base in San Diego. It was only natural that so many folks coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan were referred to my office. Now we represent folks like you across the US and from around the world. We have handled hundreds of cases for folks just like you. We know and deal with all the DBA insurance companies.
It is all about strength
Another of my mantras is about how much better it is to settle your case from a position of strength - not weakness. You always need to get your case as strong as possible. Being ready and able to win is what gets you a good settlement. Getting ready for trial and being willing to take your case to trial will get you the best settlement.
Developing the evidence
This is what most lawyers just don’t get. At least it seems that way when folks realize they have hired the wrong lawyer and call our office. This is based on what I see everyday.
Stuff doesn’t always happen by itself. "God helps those than help themselves." I grew up with that. It was true then and it is still true.
It means that sometime you have to get off your rear-end and do something. That usually means that if you don’t have evidence or the right evidence that you go out and get it. Or you make it.
Those of you that know me, know I am all about telling the truth. Always. So I am not talking about anything sinister here. I am talking about going out and getting truthful evidence that is going to help win your case.
Whatever gaps you have in your case - you need evidence in help fill in the gaps. Whether that is in-country medical reports, witness statements, wage records, medical evidence, whatever. Just do it.
This is what a really good lawyer is for; someone that is not afraid to tell you the facts of life. You don’t want political correctness only to lose because your lawyer was afraid that they might offend you. It is all about winning. It is what is the best for you and your family.
It is mostly about you
Of course, every situation and/or case is different. None are exactly alike. This is because of you. Litigation is a really personal thing. So much depends on whether the Judge believes you and likes you. I have articles all over this website about how important it is for the Judge to believe and like you. This is why your credibility is so important. I go into this in great detail in my widely acclaimed book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.
The takeaway point here is if you don’t have credibility and likability - than you probably need to be working toward settling your case.
The next most important factor is whether you have good medical evidence. You need medical evidence that explains why your disability and medical condition was caused by, aggravated and/or accelerated due to your being overseas. It doesn’t have to work related - but it has to be overseas related.
Too often medical evidence is stated in conclusions. You need well explained analysis. There is a big difference.
The next thing I always want to see is the defense medical reports. What do the reports say?
If either your medical evidence is lacking or the defense evidence is compelling - you either need better evidence or you need to consider settling your case.
The Bottom Line
Here is the deal. You need to find the best honest Defense Base Act Lawyer that is willing to take your case. The best DBA lawyer is usually not the closest DBA lawyer. And don’t believe the hype that lawyers say about themselves on their website. Kick the tires. Ask some questions. Shop around. Seriously.
The bottom line is that you don’t have the expertise or objectivity to determine whether your case should go to trial - i.e. litigate vs. settle. You need to hire the best honest DBA attorney that will agree to take your case. And then listen. Closely.
The Long Haul
You have to be in a position to be able to wait out the storm. If (or usually when) your benefits are cut-off - you have to be ready economically to out wait the DBA insurance company.
This could and will take years. If you don’t have the economic resources for this - then it is an important consideration.
Which is why it is almost always better for you to try and get back to work as quickly as possible in your community. You will still have a considerable wage loss. But you will be able to manage the wait. And the Judge is going to like you more and trust you more if you are back to work.
I realize that this is hard for many of you. But it is really good, sound advice.
Catch more files with honey than vinegar
Just because you are at war with the DBA insurance company and their shark lawyer - - doesn’t give you license to be rude, mean or short. I make it a point to be nice and professional to the other side. So should you.
Be likable. Even when the other side doesn’t deserve it. Be nice. Be polite - even in battle.
It is a lot easier to pay money to people that you like. Your lawyers job is to get the very highest settlement offer as is possible.
Then you have a decision to make. Litigate or settle. All of the factors I talked about in this article are the things that you need to consider.
Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley