How long does it take to resolve a claim under the Defense Base Act?
Find out what you're looking at.
Strength vs. Weakness - By Bill Turley
If you want to get what you are entitled to under the DBA - you have to be ready to take your case to court. You have to be prepared to win. Hoping for a good settlement is a fool's errand. You want to and need to negotiate from a position of strength. You don't do that unless you are prepared to win in court.
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When Will I Get a Final Answer About My Defense Base Act Claim?
For many workers, the answer to this question can be less than satisfying. The truth is that there is no set period of time for resolving your claim, and each case can work out very differently. Ultimately, how long it takes to resolve your DBA claim will depend on:
The details of your case.
Some injuries or accidents are naturally more complicated than others, and the details of what happened and how you were hurt can create additional snags in the process of resolving a DBA claim.
The evidence in your case.
To claim the benefits you are owed, you will likely need to present extensive evidence of your injury, your treatment, and more. While your injury may seem obvious to the naked eye, you still must legally “prove” your claims with strong evidence.
The court process involved in coming to a resolution.
Even when you have worked closely with an attorney and carefully prepared everything needed for your DBA claim, there can be a long wait associated with negotiating fair settlements, scheduling trials, and dealing with appeals.
While some overseas civilian contractors are able to resolve their claims relatively quickly, many others may be waiting for years for compensation. And while the reason for these delays can be legitimate, there are many situations in which the reason for delays is “just because.” To make sure that you are protecting your rights, getting fair treatment, and moving your DBA claim forward, it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side.
A timeline, of sorts, for Defense Base Act claims
Here is a timeline, of sorts, of what you may be looking at for your DBA case. I am just trying to give you a ballpark of the time frames.
First, it really depends on your injuries. If you have very serious physical injures it may take you months or even years to recover medically. Not to suggest that you can't settle your case or take your case to trial during all of this, it really does depend on the circumstances of your case.
Oftentimes you will need to reach maximum medical improvement before you can resolve your DBA case. Not always, but that is usually how it goes.
If you aren't getting benefits then you need to marshal the evidence and then request a Telephonic Emergency Informal Conference (TEIC). You should have medical evidence ready when you request the TEIC. This part of the process can take a few weeks and it can also take months.
Once you request the TEIC, you have to attend the informal conference. Most importantly you need to get recommendations issued. For more on TEIC's click here.
Then you haver to wait for the TEIC to be scheduled, then you attend the TEIC and then have recommendations issued. This can also take a few months. Sometimes more.
Once recommendations are issued, then you can file an LS-18 for trial. Be sure to put all the issues on the LS-18 form.
Once you file an LS-18 it can be months before you get a trial date (called: a hearing date). The trial/ hearing can be many months off into the future.
Then you attend the trial (hearing) and then the real waiting starts. It can be up to a year before you get the Judge's Decision and Order.
Then if you win, you can depend on the DBA insurance company appealing the Order. This part of the process can also take months and months. However, if you win at trial, then the DBA insurance company is suppose to begin to provide you benefits and keep providing benefits while you are awaiting the Appeal.
This all can and does take months, and many times years
The last thing you probably want for me to do is to tell you that DBA cases take a long time to get resolved. Usually we are talking about years. Yes, years.
You can probably find someone to tell you that they can get your case done much quicker. But they wouldn't be telling you the truth. My job is to tell you the truth. Not tell you what you may want to hear.
You need to prepare you and your family for the worst. Of you need to seriously consider resolving your DBA case.
A silver lining - here is some better news
I just gave you a worst case scenario. it doesn't always have to go this way. At anytime along the process, you can try and settle your case for a lump sum settlement. It's your case. You can always try and get the DBA insurance company to settle your case.
For more on Defense Base Act lump sum settlements - click here.
If you were injured while working for a defense contractor, it’s time to start getting informed about your rights and taking control of your situation. Request your FREE copy of our book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case, to learn more about empowering yourself, or visit our YouTube channel for immediate access to more helpful tips and information.
Just because we have gotten great results in other cases, doesn't mean you will get a great result in yours. Every case is different.