Go to navigation Go to content
Phone: 619-304-1000
The Turley Law Firm P.C.

Common Myths About the Defense Base Act

Comments (0)
If you have Defense Base Act (DBA) case, chances are, you knew little or nothing about the DBA before you were injured. Now that you are injured, you are in different world, so to speak.
 
It’s important that you understand as much about the DBA as possible.  You and your family’s economic future may depend on the outcome of your DBA case.  
 
It seems that a lot of folks have misconceptions about the DBA. And like a lot of things, you just don’t know what you don’t know.  And, it’s the things that you don’t know that can often times hurt you the most.  
 
Because of this, I thought I would tackle some of the misconceptions about the DBA.  
 
Before I jump into the myths, I will give you my best advice. Always tell the truth when brining a DBA case. The insurance company is going to try and attack your credibility. Don't help them by being caught in a lie. Nothing is more important than your credibility. 
 

In this article I address these some common myths or misconceptions regarding the Defense Base Act:


1.  “Since I have a legitimate injury as an overseas civilian contractor I will receive Defense Base Act benefits.”
 
2.  “As long as I’m getting DBA benefits, I’m good, I have nothing to worry about.”
 
3.  “I shouldn’t hire a lawyer if I’m getting DBA benefits because I don’t want to piss off the insurance company.” 
 
4.  “I don’t want to hire a DBA lawyer because I don’t want to pay their attorney fees.”
 
5.  “All lawyers are alike, so it doesn’t really matter what lawyer I hire for my DBA case.”
 
6.  “I should hire a local DBA lawyer - somebody close is always better.” 
 
7.  “I should hire a Defense Base Act lawyer because they have a nice website.”
 
8.  “I can treat with any doctor that I want to for my DBA case.”
 
9.  “I should treat with the doctor that the insurance company suggests or the nurse case managers suggests, because I don’t want to get the insurance company upset at me.”
 
10.  “I haven’t worked overseas for years so I can’t bring a PTSD claim.” 
 
11.  “I worked overseas in the military - and saw some really bad stuff then, so I can’t bring a PTSD for my work as a civilian contractor when I went back overseas after my military career.” 
 
12.  “I was injured overseas, but I wasn’t working - I was injured doing recreational activities or I was injured off the camp...so I can’t bring a DBA case.”
 
13.  “The DBA insurance company is denying my claim, so I can’t bring a Defense Base Act claim.”
 
14.  “I don’t have an incident report, so I can’t win my DBA claim.”

15.  “I hired the wrong lawyer, my lawyer sucks, my DBA case is over, I’m done.” 
 
16.  “I didn’t get your book, I missed the memo, I got caught in one or more of the insurance company tricks or traps and the insurance company is making me out to be a liar - - my Defense Base Act case is over. “
 
17.  “Things have really fallen apart, I’m homeless now and my DBA case is going nowhere fast. My family is done, I’m done. It all sucks. I should give up on my DBA case.” 
 
18.  My doctor wrote a terrible medical report. But I’m really injured... or my injury really was due to me being overseas....or....so I can’t win my DBA case.” 
 
19.  “The DBA insurance company’s Labor Market Survey shows I don’t have any loss of wage earning capacity, so I don’t have a case, or my case has no value or little value.”
 
20.  “I can get money for pain and suffering with my DBA case.” 
 
21.  “I can still work, so I have no loss of wage earning capacity... so I can’t get disability money for my DBA injury.” 
 
22. “I have to allow the DBA insurance company nurse case manager go into the examination room when I see my doctor.”
 
23.  “Since my permanent disability is based upon a wage loss concept under the DBA, it will hurt my case if I get a job.”
 
24.  “It’s okay for me to talk to the DBA insurance adjuster.” 
 
25.  "I should go ahead and sign whatever forms the DBA insurance company adjuster wants me to sign." 
 
26.  “I should give a recorded or written statement to the DBA insurance company - since I have a legitimate injury, it should be alright. Since the adjuster asked me to give one, I don’t want to upset them so they stop my benefits.” 
 
27.  “I shouldn’t tell anyone about my previous injury, because if I they find out, I won’t get any money for my DBA case.”
 
 

DBA Myths and Misconceptions 

 

1.  “Since I have a legitimate injury as an overseas civilian contractor I will receive Defense Base Act benefits.”

 
This is simply not true. The DBA insurance company routinely deny Defense Base Act cases of folks, just like you, that have legitimate injuries and claims. This happens all the time.  
 
The DBA insurance company is going to set up tricks and traps in order to keep from paying you the benefits you are owed. This is one of the main reasons I wrote the book Win Your Defense Base Act Case.
 
 
Win Your Defense Base Act Case - Best Defense Base Act Lawyer - Bill Turley
 
 
I guarantee, you are going to learn important information that will help you with your DBA case. 
 

2.  “As long as I’m getting DBA benefits, I’m good, I have nothing to worry about.”

 
I would like to tell you that you’ll be good. But, the DBA insurance companies decide to deny claims regularly, sometimes, “just because.”  I know that doesn’t sound right, but I’ve been doing this a long time.
 
Seems that the DBA insurance company pressures or suggests to their adjusters to deny claims. Is this because their quarterly profits aren’t what they were hoping they would be?  Do they have to meet “denial” quotas? 
 
These are all good questions. After all, they’re insurance companies. I just know that we get contacted regularly by folks that have their benefits cut, for no apparent reason.
 
If you receive an LS-207 Notice of Controversion in the mail, then you’re benefits are being cut or reduced.
 

3.  “I shouldn’t hire a lawyer if I’m getting DBA benefits because I don’t want to piss off the insurance company.”

We have represented hundreds and hundreds of seriously injured overseas contractors. I can’t recall any of our clients having their benefits stopped because they hire a lawyer. In fact, it’s usually the opposite. You’re less likely to have your DBA benefits stopped if you have a good DBA lawyer.
 
I’m not saying that you have to hire us. I am saying that you need the best, honest DBA lawyer that you can find.
 

4.  “I don’t want to hire a DBA lawyer because I don’t want to pay their attorney fees.”

First, the DBA insurance company should always pay for your lawyer, not you. Second, even if was true - which it isn’t, if you hire the right lawyer, a good lawyer will get you a lot more money.
 
I suggest you read my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.
 

5.  “All lawyers are alike, so it doesn’t really matter what lawyer I hire for my DBA case.”

This is not only wrong, but very wrong.  Not all lawyers are alike. You want a DBA lawyer that specializes in DBA cases. Someone that is good and honest.
I cover this in my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.
 

6.  “I should hire a local DBA lawyer - somebody close is always better.”

Depending on where you live, there may be a good, honest DBA lawyer in your area.
 
But, close isn’t as important as getting the best, honest DBA lawyer for you and your case. The best DBA lawyers seem to have “national” and “world-wide” DBA practices. That is, they have clients that live all over the United States and even the world. 
 

7.  “I should hire a Defense Base Act lawyer because they have a nice website.”

A word of caution. There are many lawyers that land on the first page of Google, that I would hesitate on you hiring. There are some very good Defense Base Act lawyers out there. And they have websites that you can find on Google.
 
But there are also some lawyers out there that call themselves “Defense Base Act Lawyers” that haven’t handled very many DBA cases. I suggest that you focus on lawyers or law firms that specialize in DBA cases.
 
You don’t need a lawyer that does slip and falls in grocery stores one day, dog bites the next day, car accidents the day after that and then they will also try and help you with your DBA case.  That isn’t a specialist.
 
Based on what I see, there are a lot of lawyers that rank high in Google searches that you may want to think twice about.
 

8.  “I can treat with any doctor that I want to for my DBA case.”

This is partly true. You get a “free choice of physician” under the Defense Base Act. You can even change doctors or get referred to a specialist.  But, you should know the rules.
 
And, because of all this, it’s important that you choose wisely.

9.  “I should treat with the doctor that the insurance company suggests or the nurse case managers suggests, because I don’t want to get the insurance company upset at me.”

Not so fast. I urge extreme caution here. You want a doctor that is a patient advocate. Somebody that will stand up to the insurance company and fight for you to get the treatment that you need.
 
Do you really think a doctor that the insurance company likes will do that?
 
This is your rule of thumb - never, ever receive treatment from a doctor that is recommended to you or suggested to you by the DBA insurance company or someone working for the DBA insurance company (for instance, a nurse case manager).

10.  “I haven’t worked overseas for years so I can’t bring a PTSD claim.”

Not to give you a lawyer type answer, but it depends. Generally, the Defense Base Act has three statute of limitations. These are time limits for when you can bring a claim. One is 30 days - don’t worry about this one. The second is 1 year. This is for specific injuries. Which could be PTSD if you got PTSD from one traumatic event. For example, you were in an explosion or got shot, etc. The third is two years. This is if your PTSD occurred over time. For example, the Camp you were at was under regular rocket attacks, mortar attacks, etc.
 
But there are important exceptions to these rules. One being, you have one year from the time that you were both diagnosed with PTSD and when you were aware or should have been aware that the PTSD was due to being overseas.  However, since one of the symptoms of PTSD is denial, you can often overcome this “should have known.”  More concrete is when a doctor specifically advises you that your PTSD was caused due to you being overseas.
 
The second main exception is the statute of limitations does not begin to run (read: start) until you have suffered a loss of wage earning capacity due to the PTSD.  In order words, for example, until you know that your PTSD prevents you from returning back to work overseas.
 
So, even if you haven’t worked overseas in years, you still want to explore with a good, honest DBA lawyer whether you can still bring a PTSD claim.
 
Finally, there is no timeline for receiving medical treatment for injuries caused or contributed to due to your being overseas - including PTSD.
 

11.  “I worked overseas in the military - and saw some really bad stuff then, so I can’t bring a PTSD for my work as a civilian contractor when I went back overseas after my military career.”

 
This isn’t the case. We have successfully brought PTSD claims for ex Navy Seals, ex-Special Forces, ex-Rangers and the like. If you being overseas as a civilian contractor caused or contributed to your PTSD, then you can still bring a PTSD claim. Even if you have a service related disability for PTSD.
 
As a side note, many civilian contractors have faced some pretty tough stuff. You aren’t alone.  If this is you, you may be entitled to significant compensation under the DBA.
 
I suggest you check out this article on PTSD and the Defense Base Act.


12.  “I was injured overseas, but I wasn’t working - I was injured doing recreational activities or I was injured off the camp...so I can’t bring a DBA case.”

Not true. Under the Zone of Special Danger doctrine almost any injury overseas is a compensable Defense Base Act claim. You may be entitled to a lot of money compensation.
 
We have successfully represented people in DBA cases where they were injured playing soccer, lifting weights, slipping in the shower, walking from the mess hall, lifting their bag out of the airplane overhead compartment, tripping on steps outside the embassy, etc.
 


13.  “The DBA insurance company is denying my claim, so I can’t bring a Defense Base Act claim.”

 
Not a chance. Folks win their DBA cases routinely after the DBA insurance company denies their claim. Happens all the time. The insurance company denies legitimate claims in hopes that folks will give up. Don’t be that guy or girl.

14.  “I don’t have an incident report, so I can’t win my DBA claim.”

Not so. Sure having an incident report helps. But not having one is certainly not fatal to your case. Civilian contractors win their DBA cases routinely without an incident report.


15.  “I hired the wrong lawyer, my lawyer sucks, my DBA case is over, I’m done.”

Maybe. But not necessarily.
 
I’m not going to tell you that a bad lawyer can’t lose your case. Because they can. But often times we can do CPR on a case and bring it back to life. However, just like with life threatening injuries, you want to get good medical help as early as possible.
 
If you think you need a new lawyer, reach out to find a good, honest DBA lawyer. You can change lawyers if you want to and you find a new lawyer that will agree to take your case.
 
If you haven’t hire a lawyer yet, you don’t want to be that guy or gal.
 
I suggest that you get my book Win Your Defense Base Act Case and read the section on how to find, vet and hire the right Defense Base Act attorney.
 

16.  “I didn’t get your book, I missed the memo, I got caught in one or more of the insurance company tricks or traps and the insurance company is making me out to be a liar - - my Defense Base Act case is over. “

Maybe. But not necessarily. Not to give you a cheesy lawyer answer, but it depends. In fact, this happens all the time. It’s one of the reasons why I wrote my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.
 
It all depends on how it went down and whether you can “fix it.” Sometimes we can “put Humpty Dumpty back up on the wall. Sometimes we can’t. Sometimes we can still get a significant amount of money, even when your case is really screwed up.
 
No doubt about it, you’re always better off when you don’t fall for one of the DBA insurance company stunts.
 
But, that doesn’t mean you still can’t get a decent result in your case.
 
I suggest that you do two things. First, get my book so it doesn’t happen again (you would be surprised at how often folks fall for more than one different trick or trap).
 
Second, get over the embarrassment and pick up the phone and see if your mistake is fatal to your case or not.
 

17.  “Things have really fallen apart, I’m homeless now and my DBA case is going nowhere fast. My family is done, I’m done. It all sucks. I should give up on my DBA case.”

Gosh, I hate getting these calls. I feel bad when folks tell me they’re homeless because they were injured and the DBA insurance company cut them off. The first thing I always think, is I just wish you had called me earlier.
 
Whatever you do, don’t give up. Pick up the phone. Heck, call us collect, if you have to.
 
Tell the operator you’re homeless, broke and Bill told you to call collect.
 
Don’t get all depressed and give up all hope.
 
When things fall apart, things can still be salvaged. Not always. But we have done it many, many times. Folks think they are done, they’re life is done and we pull a rabbit out of our.... well you get the idea.
 
No guarantees. But you should at least call and find out. If not us, then call a good, honest DBA lawyer. You owe it to yourself and your family. Call.
 

18.  My doctor wrote a terrible medical report. But I’m really injured... or my injury really was due to me being overseas....or....so I can’t win my DBA case.”

 
You get the idea. I’m not going to blow smoke up your skirt. When this happens, you’re up that proverbial creek without a paddle. That all being said, we have pulled these cases out before. Again, it depends.
 
You are going to need either different proof/ evidence that changes the doctor’s opinion or you are going to need a new doctor. Maybe both.
 
Again, no promises, but it’s not an impossible to still win your DBA case.


19.  “The DBA insurance company’s Labor Market Survey shows I don’t have any loss of wage earning capacity, so I don’t have a case, or my case has no value or little value.”

This is probably not correct. You can usually overcome a Labor Market Survey. Not always. But usually.
 
Again, the devil is in the details. But it is rare that we can’t beat or partially beat a Labor Market Survey.
 
I suggest that you get my book Win Your Defense Base Act Case and read this article on Labor Market Surveys.


20.  “I can get money for pain and suffering with my DBA case.”

Unlike a personal injury case - say a car accident case - you can’t get money for pain and suffering with your DBA case. That’s the way it is.
 
The one exception to this if you’re pain is disabling. Then you can recover disability benefits based upon you loss of wage earning capacity, not just because it hurts a lot.

21.  “I can still work, so I have no loss of wage earning capacity... so I can’t get disability money for my DBA injury.”

The test isn’t whether you can work after your DBA injury. The test is whether - considering your injuries, disability, education, training, job market - you have a loss of wage earning capacity. It's a wage loss concept. So, you can still work and have a significant loss of wage earning capacity.
 
In fact, I usually encourage clients to get a job and work after they have been released from treatment. 
 
I suggest that you check out this article on loss of wage earning capacity and get my book Win Your Defense Base Act Case.


22. “I have to allow the DBA insurance company nurse case manager go into the examination room when I see my doctor.”

Not true. I suggest that you don’t allow the insurance company’s nurse case manager to go into the examination room with your doctor.
 
The nurse case manager’s job is to save the insurance company money, so politely ask him or her to wait in the waiting room.
 
If this doesn’t work, or you don’t want to confront the nurse case manager - then you need to hire a good, honest DBA lawyer ASAP.  If you have a lawyer, talk to your lawyer about this.


23.  “Since my permanent disability is based upon a wage loss concept under the DBA, it will hurt my case if I get a job.”

First, let’s back up. If you have an scheduled injury (unless you can’t work at all); then it doesn’t matter if you are working or not - you’ll get the same permanent disability money. 
 
Second, if you have an unscheduled injury, then your DBA permanent disability money is based upon a wage loss concept. I suggest you read these articles on wage loss under the DBA and Labor Market Surveys.
 
Assuming that you are able to work, then generally, you will be helping your case by working. Look at it this way.  The Judge in your case is probably older than you and they may have more physical problems than you. Seriously.
 
And the Judge is working. It’s easier to like someone that is trying to help themselves. Like trying to work.
 
For most of our DBA clients, even if you are working at home, you are probably going to have a substantial wage loss anyway.  What better way to establish you wage earning capacity, than by actually working.
 
As we point out in our Labor Market Survey article, you need to actually apply for each of the jobs listed in the Labor Market Survey. You need to document all of this. You should also be documenting your job search. To show you are trying.
 
I know all of this is a pain. But do you want to win?
 
Finally, getting back to work is going to help your self esteem and help you get back into society.
 

24.  “It’s okay for me to talk to the DBA insurance adjuster.”

 
I urge extreme caution here. I suggest you read this article first, before you talk to the adjuster
 

25.  "I should go ahead and sign whatever forms the DBA insurance company adjuster wants me to sign."

No, no, no. Never sign any forms until they have been reviewed by your lawyer.  
 
The insurance company is not looking for reasons to provide you benefits - they are looking for reasons or ways to deny your claim.
 


26.  “I should give a recorded or written statement to the DBA insurance company - since I have a legitimate injury, it should be alright. Since the adjuster asked me to give one, I don’t want to upset them so they stop my benefits.”

Not. The DBA insurance adjusters are training to asked trick questions. They are only looking for reasons to deny your claim. Never give a recorded or written statement.
 
I suggest you read this article, before you make the mistake of giving a statement

27.  “I shouldn’t tell anyone about my previous injury, because if I they find out, I won’t get any money for my DBA case.”

This is not only wrong, but wrong on every level. The DBA insurance company is hoping you make this mistake. Because they are going to find out about your previous injury and then you are going to be impeached (made to look like a liar). This can lose your case.
 
Under the DBA, it doesn’t matter if you have a previous injury, as long as your DBA injury contributed to your disability, then your claim is compensable. 
 
Never, ever try and hide prior injuries. 
 
Do you know what an  Insurance Index Bureau is?  Before you try and hide a prior injury, make sure that you do. Seriously. 
 

           
Need help right now?

 
You can call us at 619-304-1000
 
Or leave us a message on this web page.
 

What steps should I take to win my DBA case?

 
The first thing you should do is to get my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.  
 
If you're having the slightest doubts about this, right now, go to amazon.com and read the 5 Star reviews of the book.  It really is the best place for you to start. If you've already started your case, you must still read the book. 

 

After you read the book, if you have any questions, you can all my office and ask us. 

 
619-304-1000 
 
or leave a message on this web page. 
William Turley
Connect with me
“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
Be the first to comment!

Post a Comment

To reply to this message, enter your reply in the box labeled "Message", hit "Post Message."

Name:*

Email:* (will not be published)

Message:*

Notify me of follow-up comments via email.

Live Chat