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How do I start my Defense Base Act claim?

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How do I start my Defense Base Act Case - by Bill Turley
“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
 
 

How do I begin a Defense Base Act case? 

Starting your Defense Base Act case can be daunting. You may have these questions:

Where do I start with my Defense Base Act claim?
 
How do I file a Defense Base Act case? 
 
What should I expect when I file my DBA claim?
 
How do I use SEAPortal?
 
You start your DBA claim by filing a Claim for Compensation
 
How do I communicate with the U.S. Department of Labor?
 
Can I email the Department of Labor claims examiner for my DBA case?
 
How do I get an OWCP case number assigned to my DBA claim?
 
What is SEAPortal?
 
Claim forms for new injuries must be mailed to the U.S. Department of Labor
 
What if my DBA claim is denied?
 
Report your injury to your supervisor
 
Get medical treatment
 
Get all documentation
 
You should file your DBA claim within one year
 
I will address all of these questions and more in this article.

Defense Base Act Lawyer - Straight Talk 

 
I don’t want to start off like negative Ned. I know that isn’t what you want to hear. But, if you check out some of the articles on this website (this is the most comprehensive website on the Defense Base Act) or read my 5 Star reviewed book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case - you’ll soon see that I’m about to tell you like it is.
 
I’m not going to blow smoke, so to speak. If you don’t like what I have to say, I get it. And I can live with that. There are a bunch of web sites out there that will make a DBA case sound like a walk in the park. A piece of cake.
 
But you’re not going to hear that from me, because it isn’t true. I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear, just so you’ll hire me. There are a lot of lawyers out there that are all about that. 
 

You have a court case

You need to understand from the git-go that you have a court case. It is you against the Defense Base Act insurance company. Like all insurance companies the DBA insurance company in your case was paid premiums in order to insure against the risk of one of the overseas contracting company employees being injured. Every dime that they pay you in DBA benefits is coming right out of their bottom line.
 

You always have to tell the truth

I say this over and over again. You have to tell the truth. If you get caught in a lie, then you’ll probably going to lose your case. If the Judge doesn’t believe you, then you will almost certainly lose.
 

The DBA insurance company is looking for reasons to deny your claim

Because of this, the DBA insurance company is looking for reasons to deny your claim. Yes, even legitimate claims like yours. They don’t care. It’s all about profits and money to them. If this sounds cynical, it’s because it is. I’ve been doing this a long time.
 
Everything that the DBA insurance company does is aimed at finding reasons to deny your claim. If you make a mistake on the LS-203 (the initial claim form), then the insurance company will deny your claim.
 
If you don’t submit the "Proper” documentation, then they’ll deny your claim. You say something “wrong” to the insurance adjuster..... you get the idea.
 
Once your claim is denied, it can prove difficult to get your benefits started again.
 
Because of this, I recommend that if you’re just starting out with your DBA claim, that you hire the best, honest Defense Base Act lawyer that you can find.
 

The DBA insurance company’s tricks and traps

The DBA insurance company has tricks and traps that they are hoping you will fall for. They use them in order to deny DBA claims.  Don’t for one second think that just because you have a legitimate injury and a legitimate claim that this doesn’t apply to you.
 
One of the big parts of my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case is teaching you how to spot and avoid these tricks and traps. You can get a free copy of my book here.
 
Win Your Defense Base Act Case - Bill Turley
 
I suggest you check out the 5 Star reviews on amazon.com.
 

I also suggest that you check out these articles:

 
 
 

A quick lay of the land

The Defense Base Act is actually an Extension of the Longshore Act. The U.S. Department of Labor, Longshore Division administers DBA claims. 
 
The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC) is who you’ll be dealing with.
 
You might as well start getting acquainted with the acronyms right now.
 

You start your DBA claim by filing a Claim for Compensation    

You need to start your DBA claim by filing a LS-203 with the U.S Department of Labor. You need to send a copy to your employer and the DBA insurance company.
You should file a written claim for compensation on Form LS-203 within one year after the date of injury or last payment of compensation, whichever is later.
 
A claim for survivor benefits must be filed within one year after the date of death.
 
I recommend that you have your Defense Base Act lawyer file and sign the claim for you. 
 
Why?  For two reasons. First, so no mistakes are made on the form, which could result in your claim being denied.  Second, if your attorney signs the form, then you can’t be impeached if there are mistakes on the form.
 
 

How do I communicate with the U.S. Department of Labor? (Can I email the claims examiner for my DBA case?

As a matter of policy, the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) does not discuss or handle claims by email. They say that this is to protect your privacy.  I think they just don't want to spend hours each day responding to emails.  
 
You should contact the District Office handling your case by telephone with specific claim-related questions.
 
You will have a Claims Examiner assigned to your case. I suggest that all communications with the Department of Labor (DOL) Claims Examiner be through your attorney. The Claims Examiner isn’t there to help you. They are supposed to be neutral. They will end up issuing recommendations in your case, after your Informal Conference.
 
If you find that you must speak to the DOL Claims Examiner, be nice and polite. Always.  Taking your frustrations out on them is not going to be helpful to your case. Ever.
 

How do I get an OWCP case number assigned to my DBA claim?

If you do not have an OWCP file number and you are filing a new claim, the claim form LS-201, LS-202, LS-203 or LS-262) should be sent to the Jacksonville DLHWC District Office, which is designated as the Central Case Create site for the entire program. This site creates cases for all new injuries, regardless of the location of injury or claimant's home address. After the case is created, it is viewable electronically by the District Office with jurisdiction for the case.
 
U. S. Department of Labor
Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Charles E. Bennett Federal Building
400 West Bay Street, Room 63A, Box 28
Jacksonville, FL 32202
 
If you wish, you can submit your claim via fax to the DOL's case create designated fax number, 202-513-6814.
 
Please note this fax number is strictly for new claims that have not been previously assigned a case number.
 

What is SEAPortal?

If you already have an OWCP file number, you can use Longshore's Secure Electronic Access Portal (SEAPortal).
 
The SEAPortal is a web-based application that allows you, your lawyer, the DBA insurance company adjuster or the DBA insurance company lawyer to upload documents (in .pdf or .tif format) directly into a case file. Users do not need to register or enroll to use the SEAPortal.
 
You simply need the OWCP case number and the injured worker's last name, date of birth and date of injury.
 
If you have a DBA lawyer, you should NEVER be uploading documents to SEAPortal.
 
Let your lawyer, be your lawyer.
 
The SEAPortal provides important advantages over other means of submitting documents to OWCP, such as same-day delivery to the appropriate case file and OWCP Claims Examiner. And it’s cheaper to use SEAPortal than to mail documents to the DOL.
 
SEAPortal submissions are delivered to the OWCP examiner within four (4) hours of your submission, and you have the ability to track the document using a tracking number that is generated by the website.
 
Remember, you can only use SEAPortal if you already have a case number assigned to your claim. 
 

Claim forms for new injuries must be mailed to the U.S. Department of Labor

Claim forms for new injuries (LS-201, LS-202, LS-203 or LS-262) must be submitted to Longshore's Central Case Create site at this address:
 
U. S. Department of Labor
Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
201 Varick Street, Room 740
Post Office Box 249
New York, NY 10014-0249
 
I suggest that you double check documents before you upload them.. (once you have uploaded the document - you can’t see it on SeaPortal....)
 
Uploading a document to your case file via the SEAPortal is a one-way transmission, similar to dropping an envelope into a mailbox.
 
Therefore, after you have submitted a document, you will not be able to view or access the document in the SEAPortal. However, you can view your uploaded document prior to selecting SUBMIT by clicking on the document name.
 
So, make sure that you have double checked what you are uploading, before you upload it. You can’t “unring the bell", so to speak.


DBA forms

Here is an article on DBA forms for the Department of Labor.
 

What if my DBA claim is denied?

 
 

Report your injury to your supervisor

If you’re still overseas, you should immediately report your injury to your supervisor. I suggest that you confirm the report with an email, if possible.
 
Such as, “I fell while leaving the mess hall today, my back hurts.” 
 
If your knee hurts also, be sure to put down all the parts of your body that you have pain or problems with. Don’t leave any body parts out.
 
You are trying to document that you were injured and that you informed your employer/ supervisor.

 

Get medical treatment

If you have received medical treatment for your injuries, that is good. If you haven’t received medical treatment, you should ask your employer for medical treatment. You want to get medical treatment as soon as possible.
 
Be sure to provide an accurate description of how you were injured and all the parts of your body, that were injured or you have pain or problems with. Again, more is more. Just be truthful.
 
If you need emergency medical treatment, go get it. Now.
 
Otherwise, you should request authorization from your employer for medical treatment. You can put this in an email to your supervisor.
 

Get all documentation

If an incident report is filled out, be sure to get a copy. It’s the same with medical reports. Taking a picture with your phone of these documents will do fine.  
 
This is VERY important. 
 

You should file your DBA claim within one year

Generally, you have one year in order to file your DBA claim.  If you are past the year, you can oftentimes still bring a claim for compensation. Check out this article.
 

Need help right now?
 
Call us at 619-304-1000 

Text us at 858-281-8008
 
Chat with us on this web page.
 
Or you can leave us a message on this web page.
   
        
 
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.
William Turley
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“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
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