This post was updated on January 21, 2019
"Always straight-up, with no sugar added. Just old fashioned, unsweetened truth."
“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in a lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.”
One thing is certain, there are many civilian contractors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you or loved one is suffering from PTSD symptoms, then the first step is getting help. That help comes in several forms. Before we get to that, I want to put all of this into the proper perspective.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - also called PTSD - is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event or events. Symptoms may include flashback, nightmares, severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event or events.
I, along with most medical professionals that have experience with PTSD and war theaters - know that "disorder" is simply the wrong term. This is an "Injury." Just as real as a leg injury or a back injury. More so, for many.
The two main factors that will determine whether you win your PTSD claim
There are two main factors that will either "win" or "lose" your PTSD case. A DBA case is a court case. Your case will be decided by a Judge. Never lose sight of you having to prove your case in court in order for you to recover money benefits and receive medical treatment.
The two main factors are whether the Judge believes you or not and the evidence. Let's take a quick look at both of these factors.
You have to tell the truth
The first main factor that will determine whether you win your case is whether the judge believes you or not. Nothing is more important than your credibility. Nothing else is even close. You have to tell the truth about everything. Don't fudge, don't exaggerate. If the Judge doesn't believe you - then you will lose. It is just that simple.
The problem here is that the insurance company will try to lay tricks and traps in order for the Judge to question your credibility. They are easy to avoid if, and only if, you spot them first. Which, most folks, even honest well meaning folks, miss. I lay all of this out in my 5 Star book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case. Go here to read all of the 5 Star reviews on Amazon.com.
You need persuasive medical evidence
Second, is you need persuasive and credible medical evidence. You will need a medical doctor to diagnose your PTSD and relate it to the traumatic events that happened to you while you are overseas. You will need a well written and reasoned medical report that supports your case.
Filing 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. I suggest that you have your lawyer file you claim for you. I suggest you read my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case before you talk to the insurance adjuster, sign any forms or even hire the wrong lawyer.
You need medical treatment in order to get better. Under the DBA you are entitled to medical treatment. However, as a practical matter the DBA insurance company is probably going to deny your claim and refuse to provide medical treatment.
This is why it is always better to lawyer up, before a claim is filed.
You Don’t Have To Pay An Attorney
Generally, the insurance company should 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. In a nutshell, the Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Compensation Act. Because of this, the very best lawyers handling these civilian contractor claims are lawyers that have been handling Longshore Act claims for years.
For example, our main office is in San Diego, with the largest shipyard on the West Coast all with workers that have claims that fall under the Longshore Act.
Medical Treatment Revisited
You are 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.
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. Oftentimes these cases settle for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sometimes claims need to be taken to court. However, as long as you tell the truth, you will have a good chance of prevailing. Nothing is more important that your credibility is winning these cases.
Be sure to request a free copy of my new book:
Win Your Defense Base Act Case:
The Ultimate Plain English No B.S. Roadmap
To The Medical Treatment and Money
You and Your Family Deserve
Click here to see all the great 5 Star reviews of the book on amazon.com.
Or call my office 619-234-2833
We represent more injured overseas civilian contractors than any other law firm on the West Coast. We are one of the two largest DBA law firms in the world. We represent overseas civilian contractors all over the U.S.A. and the world.
Offices in Oakland, San Francisco, Bakersfield, Los Angeles and San Diego.
I can't stress this enough
If you have followed my book or this website, you have probably heard my rants about PTSD being the wrong title for folks that have post-traumatic stress. It shouldn't be called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - it should be called Post-Traumatic Stress Injury. Because that's what it is - an injury.
I am not the only one that feels this way. Most of the doctors I talk to feel the same way.