"We give it to you straight. We might even tell you something you rather not accept. But it will be the truth. The unvarnished, unsweetened, unabashed truth.” - DBA Attorney - Bill Turley
When handling your DBA case, nothing matters more then the honest truth. Nothing. You must be straight forward and honest about your case. I have seen many instances where a client will sugarcoat their injury and the courts throw out the case. Why? All because they were not honest from the get go.
The DBA insurance company is not on your side. They have traps laying around for you to fall in. And bet on it, if you do not follow the proper steps with your DBA case, you will fall right in.
The Next Step
Remember the DBA insurance company is not your friend. I strongly suggest you order a free copy of my book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case: The Ultimate Straight Talk Roadmap To The Medical Treatment and Money You and Your Family Deserve. I will send it to you for free and cover shipping.
Trust me. My only goal here is to make sure honest, hard-working folks like you do not get ripped off by these companies.
Need help right now?
Call us today at (619) 234-2833 or you can fill out the contact form on this web page.
DBA Lawyer Straight Talk: Defense Base Act Average Weekly Wage - Don't Get Ripped Off!
If you are a seriously injured Defense Base Act claimant (meaning you have a Defense Base Act claim) - you need to know the facts of life. Here, we give it too you straight. No sugar added. Just good old fashion truth.
The DBA Is Wages Driven
The Defense Base Act is a wages driven workers' compensation scheme. Your temporary disability and your permanent disability benefits are driven by your wages. Generally, the higher your wages the more your temporary and permanent disability benefits will be.
Because of this, the Defense Base Act insurance company will try and calculate your average weekly wage (AWW) as low as possible. In effect, screwing you and your family out of much deserved compensation benefits. Quite literally, taking food off your family's table. How this plays out in the real world is the DBA insurance company will try and calculate your AWW using both overseas earnings and your State-side earnings. If you are a seriously injured Defense Base Act worker, this is one of the many reasons why you need to hire the best DBA Attorney you can find.
Earnings For The 52 Weeks Before Your Injury
Most of you know that the Defense Base Act falls under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. Or the "Longshore Act" or "LHWCA." Generally, under the Longshore Act and Defense Base Act a Claimant's (read: injured worker's) average weekly wage is determined by their earnings 1 year or 52 weeks before their date of injury. If you have worked overseas as a DBA worker for over a year, this may not be an issue in your Defense Base Act case. However, if you have worked overseas for less than a year than this may be a huge issue in your case. Let's see why.
Average Weekly Wage For DBA Workers
Truth be told, average weekly wage is probably the most heavily litigated issue under the Longshore Act/ Defense Base Act. And there are special rules for DBA workers' that don't apply to Longshore workers.
Under the DBA - in some circumstances - your average weekly wage can be based solely on your overseas earnings. The courts have held that where a DBA worker has a one year contract and is injured before they have completed the one year contract, the injured DBA workers' AWW can be calculated solely on the overseas earnings.
It's All About Danger And Risks
The basis for this is the Defense Base Act courts have recognized the danger and risk faced by DBA workers. The reality is DBA employer's pay higher wages in order to provide incentive for DBA workers to encounter these hazards and risks. When a DBA worker is injured after being enticed to work in a dangerous environment in return for higher wages, it is disingenuous to suggest that his earning capacity should not be calculated based upon the full amount of the earnings lost due to the injury.
Telephonic Emergency Informal Conference
If you aren't receiving temporary disability benefits or permanent disability benefits at the proper compensation rate you need to request the Defense Base Act insurance carrier provide you benefits at the proper AWW/ compensation rate. Be sure to also ask for retroactive benefits you are owed at the proper compensation rate. As always, you need a proof of service.
If, or rather, when the insurance company doesn't change your compensation rate - including providing your retroactive benefits at the proper compensation rate - request a Telephonic Emergency Informal Conference with the U.S. Department of Labor. As always when you are communicating with the Department of Labor, be sure to copy the insurance company adjuster and use a proof of service.
A Final Word To The Wise
Finally, as of the date of this article, the issue of DBA average weekly wage when the Claimant has worked considerably less than a year is currently pending with the Court of Appeals. Thus, caution is advised pending the Court of Appeals decision(s).
How us being from San Diego helps you
We are based in San Diego, California. This is a benefit to you. Few Defense Base Act lawyers have been handling DBA cases longer than us. The Defense Base Act falls under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. Bill Turley has been handling Longshore Act cases since 1987. Because San Diego has the largest shipyard on the west coast with thousands of shipyard workers (NASSCO) and longshoremen at Longshore Local 29, Bill gained valuable experience with these cases long before the United States sent civilian workers to Iraq and Afghanistan. That experience helps him win Defense Base Act cases.
America’s Leading DBA Attorneys
Awarded Super Lawyer 2011 and 2012
Invited to Speak on the Longshore Act / Defense Base Act at 2011 Maritime Personal Injury Seminar
New York Times 2011 Top Attorney
Elected President of the Consumer Attorneys
1300 Clay Street, Suite 600
Oakland, CA 94612
San Francisco Office
275 Battery St. Suite 1300
San Francisco, California, 94111
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3255 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1801
Los Angeles, California 90010
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7428 Trade St.
San Diego, CA 92121