“I give you an insider’s view of the DBA. I don’t sugar coat it for you. I give it to you straight. No lawyer talk, no double talk.
Just good old fashioned, unsweetened truth.”
Defense Base Act Lawyer Bill Turley
Defense Base Act - workers compensation insurance for defense contractors
The Defense Base Act (DBA) is actually an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. It’s a federal workers compensation program that provides workers compensation coverage and benefits to civilian contractor workers that work in overseas military bases and all employees of contractors and subcontractors working on contracts of the U.S. Government.
Defense Contractors and the Defense Base Act workers compensation
If you’re a defense contractor and you’re injured while overseas, then you are covered by Defense Base Act workers compensation benefits. The Defense Base Act is a workers compensation system that covers overseas civilian contractors that work under Department of Defense (DOD) contracts, U.S. Government contracts and U.S. State Department contracts.
What is a “defense contractor?”
The Code of Federal Regulations defines a defense contractor as “any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, or other legal non-federal entity that enters into a contract directly with the DOD to furnish services, supplies, or construction.”
The term contractor is commonly used in two different contexts.
First, the term can describe the private companies with which the Department of Defense (DOD) contracts to obtain goods and services.
Second, it can also describe individuals hired by the DOD – usually through private companies, which are also considered contractors in the previous context – to perform specific tasks.
The term contractor does not refer to military service members, civilian DOD career employees, or civilian political appointees.
In this article, when I refer to “contractors” I am referring to individuals. That is defense contractors that qualify for Defense Base Act workers’ compensation benefits.
Defense Contracting and CENTCOM
The United States Central Command
(USCENTCOM or CENTCOM) is a theater-level Unified Combatant Command of the U.S. Department of Defense. ... The CENTCOM Area of Responsibility includes the Middle East, including Egypt in Africa, and Central Asia, most notably Afghanistan and Iraq.
According to Congressional reports, the DOD relies on contractors to support a wide range of military operations. In U.S. Military operation in Iraq and Afghanistan, contractors have frequently averaged 50% or more of the DOD presence in-country. However, there have been questions raised about the reliability of the data provided by the DOD regarding the number of contractors who are located in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. Meaning, the number of contractors DOD employs in the war theaters.
For the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2018, CENTCOM reported 49,451 personnel working for DOD within its area of responsibility, which included 28,189 individuals located in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
The Congressional Research Service
(CRS), a non-partisan think tank that works directly for the U.S. Congress, defines the Iraq area of responsibility as: Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Jordan. The CRS defines the Afghanistan area of operations as: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Taken at face value, this suggests that there are 21,262 contractors in the CENTCOM area of responsibility that work in countries other than Iraq and Afghanistan (putting aside the CRS areas of operation) or these DOD workers are working in Africa.
Either way, there are undoubtedly defense contractors that work around the world in locations other than the Middle East and Africa. The numbers and scope of this contracting work is large, but we know of no current figures in this regard.
Most security contractors have significant military experience
According a recent Military Times article, security contractors comprise just 10 to 20 percent of DOD contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq. The rest provide mission essential functions, such as engineering, communication and transportation and many others. Those roles take place in conflict areas, thus placing those contractors at a similar risk level as the soldiers.
Most of the security contractors are veterans with significant military experience. Many were officers and about half of them are Special Services veterans.
Which is consistent with the security contractors that we have represented. Almost all have military experience and many are ex-special forces.
Using defense contractors to meet force manning levels
According to the CRS, in February 2017, U.S. Army General John Nicholson, then Commander of the NATO Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces–Afghanistan, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that DOD had to “substitute contractors for soldiers in order to meet the force manning levels” in Afghanistan.
As with most things military related, there are those that raise concerns and/or questions about the accuracy of these figures regarding the roles of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm not necessarily talking about doubts raised by persons against the war. Instead, I'm talking about doubts and concerns from those that have served in the U.S. military and understand the information and disinformation about things relating to the military.
According to the CRS:
In Iraq and Afghanistan, armed and unarmed private security contractors have been employed to provide services such as protecting fixed locations; guarding traveling convoys; providing security escorts; and training police and military personnel.
It seems that based upon the clients that we have represented, the security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan have also had, shall we say, more expansive roles than is suggested by the CRS.
Defense Contractors and the Defense Base Act workers compensation
If you’re a defense contractor and you’re injured while overseas, then you are covered by Defense Base Act workers compensation benefits.
The Defense Base Act requires defense contracting companies to obtain DBA insurance. The DBA insurance is provided by billion dollar insurance companies.
You’re up against an insurance company - that has to deny legitimate DBA claims in order to make money
One of the big takeaways that you should get from this article is that when you make a DBA claim, you’re dealing with an insurance company. The DBA insurance company is out to make a profit.
The DBA insurance companies undercut each other in bids to get contracting companies to buy DBA insurance from them. Many times they simply offer the DBA insurance coverage at too low of a bid. Thus, the only way form them to profit is to deny legitimate claims. DBA claims from folks just like you.
The DBA insurance company is going to attack your credibility
The DBA insurance companies have figured out the best way to deny your DBA claim is to make you look like a liar to the Judge. So they are going to attack your credibility and character. You should depend on this. I know I do.
The DBA insurance companies have tricks and traps - all designed to attack you and discredit you. This is one of the main reasons why I wrote the book Win Your Defense Base Act Case
. That is, to help folks avoid the common ways that DBA insurance companies are going to attack you.
Win Your Defense Base Act Case book
Before you do anything related to your DBA case - including, but not limited to - talking to the insurance adjuster, signing any forms (do not sign any forms, releases, etc.!!), giving a statement (don't give a statement!!!), going to your next medical appointment, attending an informal conference, attending a Labor Market Survey meeting, giving a deposition, attending a defense medical exam (also called an IME)... or anything else related to your DBA case - - you MUST first read my 5 Star book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case. You can buy it on amazon.com or claim your free copy here.
What you are going to see is that the book Win Your Defense Base Act Case is packed with insider information that will help you win your case. I wrote this book for my clients - so they will know what they should and shouldn't do. You can't get this information anywhere else. The amazon.com reviews really say it all.
"I have a legitimate DBA case and I'm telling the truth, so I'm good"
You might be thinking, "I have a legitimate case, I'm telling the truth, I'm good." However, that isn't the case. Not even close.
You don't have to be lying or trying to lie in order to fall for one of the insurance company's tricks or traps. Well meaning people everyday damage their DBA cases because they don't recognize the peril beforehand. The mistakes are avoidable, you just have to see it first. Once you've fallen for one of them, it's hard to get your case back on track again.
You don't want to lose your house and be homeless, because you have no money coming in
The last thing you want to do is to lose everything you've worked for, because you make one of the easily avoidable errors that I discuss in my book. No one wants to see this happen to anyone. But, I've seen it too many times. I hate to hear folks say, "I just wish I'd gotten your book before things really fell apart." This is why I wrote the book - so you don't lose it all, when you don't have to.
Questions about the Defense Base Act - workers compensation for defense contractors?
If you have questions about workers compensation for defense contractors and/or the Defense Base Act, i suggest you start with this article about the top 10 questions about the Defense Base Act.
Need help right now?
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This article isn't legal advice
These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, photos and/or discussions do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, or your particular case/ situation. Every case is different. There are any number of reasons why DBA cases are not won and/or are not as successful as folks might have hoped for.
Just because we have gotten great results in so many other Defense Base Act cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Including, your DBA case. Every case is different.