I Was Injured While Working For U.S. Army Family Morale Welfare and Recreation, Am I Covered by Non-appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act?
The Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NIFA) is the workers’ compensation program for U.S. Army Family MWR employees. MWR workers employed within the continental United States and MWR workers that work outside the United States that are United States citizens or permanent residents of the United States or a Territory are covered by NIFA.
A Piece of Cake? Don't Bet On It!
Some injured NIFA claimants think that all they have to do is show up and they can win their NIFA case. They think they can save some money on having to pay attorney fees. It's a piece of cake. A walk in the park . Here is all you will have to do:
First, you need evidence. Namely, medical evidence stating you have a disability - either Temporary or Permanent and wages evidence.
Second, you need to request an emergency informal conference before the United States Department of Labor.
Third, you need to marshal your evidence and present it at the emergency informal conference.
Fourth, if the adjuster refuses to follow the Department of Labor's recommendations for the informal conference or the recommendations were not in your favor, then you need to file an LS-18 for trial/ hearing.
Fifth, you have to follow the Judge's pre-trial order.
Sixth, you have to win your trial. Which means putting on evidence needed to carrier your burden of proof , direct and cross examination of witnesses and responding to the insurance attorney's legal arguments.
Seventh, you need to prevail in the Appeal that then DBA insurance company will surely file following your victory in trial. Or if you lose because you didn't have a lawyer - the Appeal you are going to have to file.
A walk in the park?
Maybe not. You have to be prepared. Know this. The insurance attorney sure knows the law, procedure and rules. Your attorney better know also.
You Get A Free Choice Physician - What Does That Really Mean?
Under NIFA/ LHWCA you have a free choice of physician. You must request authorization from the Army Family MWR to be treated by your free choice physician. The Army Family MWR must pay for the medical treatment furnished by your free choice physician.
It will only be used to deny your claim. If the adjuster tells you they need your statement in order to provide you with medical treatment or weekly compensation benefits, call a NIFA lawyer. Immediately. But don't give a statement.
Be sure not to sign any medical releases or employment releases
If the adjuster tells you they need you to sign authorizations in order to provide your NIFA benefits, call a Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act attorney. Know this - - they are only looking for reasons to deny your claim. Don’t give them a release so they can use the information they get to deny your claim. Instead, call a seasoned NIFA Lawyer.
A Local Workers' Compensation Lawyer vs. a Seasoned NIFA Lawyer
You are cautioned not to hire a “local lawyer” just because they are physically close to where you live. You need a lawyer that can take on and beat the MWR insurance company lawyers. You don’t need a local workers’ compensation lawyer - you need a NIFA Lawyer. We accept Army Family MWR clients from across America and around the world.
Prior injuries and claims
Don't lie about or hide previous injuries, conditions and/or claims. There is no apportionment under the NIFA. Meaning, you can have 95% pre-existing condition and 5% caused by the Family MWR injury and it is all compensable. With computer data bases available to the insurance companies today, you will get nailed if you try and hide a prior claim or injury.
Good Employees Get Seriously Injured
Just because you were injured doesn’t mean you were at fault. Just because you got hurt doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. The NIFA/ Longshore system is a no-fault system. Meaning, you get benefits even if your injury was entirely your own fault. Fault doesn’t matter in a NIFA claim unless you have a third party civil case. You can obtain much more money in a third party case because you are able to collect many damages in a civil case than a NIFA case.
Our third party work injury lawyers will perform a careful analysis on your case in order to discover every possible avenue of recovery for you.
Proceed With Care
You must proceed carefully when applying for NIFA benefits. One mistake in a doctor’s record or a missing form can make the difference between immediate benefits or months, possibly years of delay. You will encounter a bureaucratic morass. All the different hoops you need to jump through to get NIFA benefits can intimidating. Having a seasoned NIFA lawyer gives you a big advantage. At The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC we are your partner and guide through this difficult process.
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