“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” Spencer Johnson
My Best Advice
My best advice to you is for you to always tell the truth. Always. When bringing a court case, nothing is more important than your credibility. Nothing else is even close. The DBA insurance company lawyer
is going to try and make you look like you are lying. If this happens, the Judge will rule against you and you will lose. Bank on it. I know I do.
My Second Best Advice
Which brings me to my second best advice. The problem is that in many instances folks get caught in traps left for them by the DBA insurance company. In other words, they don’t know that they are messing up their case. Happens all the time. Well meaning honest folks get caught in one of the DBA insurance company traps.
Which is why I strongly suggest that you read my free book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case. This book is the best investment you are going to make. You can order it free here on this website or you can pay for it by ordering it from Amazon.com.
Also you can check out my podcast at DBAradio.com where i cover important DBA issues.
Need help right now?
You can call us at 619-234-2833 or you can fill out the contact form on this web page.
The FECA, Settlements, Ruining Lives
The War Hazards Compensation Act applies to DBA workers whom are injured due to hostile actions.
For more information, visit War Hazards Compensation Act.
Some refer to these claims as DBA/WHCA claims. On January 29, 2013, the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (“DFEC”) published FECA Bulletin No. 13-01.
In essence, DBA insurance carriers used DBA/WHCA claims as a profit center. What do I mean?
The United States would reimburse the DBA insurance company 115% for all expenses in handling DBA/WHCA claims. Meaning, for every $1.00 spent in defending the claim or settling the claim - the federal government (that’s right - you and I, the taxpayers) would pay the DBA insurance company $1.15.
So, what you would see (and are going to continue to see, read on) is the DBA insurance companies using the defense of DBA/WHCA claims as a profit center.
So, if the DBA insurance carrier settled a DBA/WHCA claim in an 8(i) Settlement (which usually closes all past and future compensation benefits in a lump-sum payment); the DBA insurance carrier would make a 15% profit on all future payments.
What changed with the recent FECA Bulletin No. 13-01 is that the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (“DFEC”) - has now stated that they will no longer pay the 15% for future compensation. Meaning, when the DBA insurance company settles future compensation, they are going to be losing 15% profit. Instead, they will be paid $1,000 for drafting the settlement document (at least, that is the way I am reading it).
So one DBA defense lawyer is now screaming the sky is falling because their clients (read: DBA insurance companies) will no longer have incentive to settle DBA/WHCA claim with an 8(i) (read: lump-sum payment). He is probably right about this. Sad, but true. Read on.
This astute DBA defense lawyer said (he is from a very well respected DBA/Longshore firm that we have cases against):
“So what does all of this mean? Most likely, it means that employers and carriers will refrain from entering into lump sum settlements pursuant to Section 8(i) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHCWA”). Instead of settling a DBA claim, employers and carriers can seek the direct payment of future benefits. ...The claimant will never receive a large payout of future benefits because the employer and carrier will simply transfer liability to DFEC.
The Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (“DLHWC”) and the Office of Administrative Law Judges (“OALJ”) will likely see more litigation. For undisputed claims, the DLHWC will have more Stipulations to approve and more informal conferences to conduct. For disputed claims, the OALJ will have more cases to hear and decide. Without settlements, DBA/WHCA claims will resolve either through they entry of a compensation order based on Stipulations negotiated by the parties or the entry of an ALJ’s compensation order.
In closing, FECA Bulletin No. 13-01 is a big deal. It is a game changer that affects everyone. (Emphasis added).
We will see if this results in less DBA/WHCA claims being settled for lump-sum payments. Frankly, we haven’t seen a whole lot of these settlements for other than scheduled injuries. But we will see.
Here is my take. Most businesses in the United States would love to make a 15% profit. If the DBA insurance companies can make a 15% profit off of DBA/WHCA claims that they take to trial and can’t make that 15% on cases that they settle – it certainly seems like they would not be willing to settle and lose the 15% profit.
I am not saying this is right or just or anything. It is simply business to the DBA insurance companies. It is almost always about money to insurance companies. Which is why I see a knock down drag out fight in so many DBA/WHCA claims. Because they make money fighting with us over these claims. They make money fighting legitimate claims.
The die is cast. At the end of the day the DBA insurance company makes a 15% profit on compensation paid, including interest. The DBA insurance company makes a 15% profit on the defense attorney fees. The DBA insurance company makes a 15% profit on whatever Claimant attorney fees they have to pay.
In other words. the United States Government rewards DBA insurance companies handsomely (with a 15% profit) for denying legitimate claims. The United States Government rewards DBA insurance companies handsomely (with a 15% profit) - - for ruining lives.
Gosh, is this a screwed up system or what?
Hey, the DBA insurance carriers are going to make rational economic decisions on making profit. As would you or I. And you would expect their lawyers to tell them how to make these profits. I am not knocking DBA insurance company lawyers for giving rational, sound economic advice to their clients.
Just like you hire me to give you rational, sound advice on how to maximize your DBA recovery.
But, the system is seriously broken.
Am I the only one screaming in the night about this?
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