Defense Base Act Neck & Back Injury Claims
Defense Base Act Back injury Claims and DBA neck injury claims can be disabling. If you have had a serious back injury or neck injury while working as a Defense Base Act worker, you are probably concerned about what is going to happen to you and your family if you are unable to return to your DBA employment.
You are in the right place. This article and this website will help answer most of your questions. This is the most comprehensive Defense Base Act website. Each month hundreds of DBA workers come here to help answer questions about the DBA.
The first thing you need to be concerned about is getting the right medical treatment. Nothing is more important than your health. Under the DBA you are entitled to a free choice physician. It is very important that you choose the right doctor. Never agree to treat with a doctor suggested by the DBA insurance company adjuster.
Getting Your Claim Accepted
Many DBA insurance companies deny claims first and ask questions later. Or, if your claim is initially accepted, the adjuster is always looking for reasons to stop your benefits. You can bank on this. This is why it is very important to get documentation ASAP that you were injured in theater and that your back or neck injury is related to your being overseas. You don’t have to actually be working in order for your claim to fall under the DBA.
The next thing that you need to know is that back injuries, neck injuries and spinal injuries are time-consuming injuries. This means that your future disability money depend on whether you are able to return to you usual and customary DBA employment. Are you physically able to return to your old job? If you worked in Iraq or Afghanistan - the question is are you able to return to work in a war theater?
This complex question I cover more in depth in my book.
Permanent disability under the DBA for unscheduled injuries is a wage loss concept. You need to compare your Average Weekly Wage before your injury to your Average Weekly Wage after your injury. In other words you are comparing your pre-injury earnings to your post-injury earnings. This will determine how much money you get for your back or neck injury under the DBA. Click here for more on DBA unscheduled injuries.
It's all a Wage Loss Concept
At the end of the day, back injuries/ neck injuries/ spinal injuries come down to a wage loss concept. That is, computing your loss of wage earning capacity. If you have no loss of wage earning capacity - you don't get any money for your permanent disability. Thus, it is important for your doctor to fully understand what your overseas job really entailed. Whether it is having to wear full kit to working outside the wire to having to run to shelters when there are incoming mortar rounds. This all has to be explained to your doctor.
What I have seen is too many doctors think a "security specialist" is sort of like the security guard at their building or a "linguist" is like a high school Spanish teacher. Which of course, is not even in the same universe to what it is like to work in a war theater. I know that and your know that - but what matters now is your doctor knowing all of this.
Loss of wage earning capacity is calculated as the difference between what you earned while working as an overseas civilian contractor to what you are able to earn today when considering your physical limitations, education, training, etc.
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.