“No B.S. straight forward answers with no legal mumbo-jumbo, lawyer talk.”
Defense Base Act Lawyer Bill Turley - author of the 5 Star book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case
An insider’s view of overseas civilian contracting companies - what you may be up against
When you’re injured and file a Defense Base Act claim, the “Defendant” in the claim is the employer - the overseas civilian contracting company. However, in the real world, you’re up against the DBA insurance company.
However, you shouldn’t lose sight of the employer. Your DBA case is against the employer. That is, the overseas civilian contracting company that you worked for.
While you’re dealing with the DBA insurance company, you also have a case against the contracting company that you worked for when you were injured.
Follow the money
I always say, “Follow the money.” One reason for this is that most people are going to do what’s in their own economic self-interest.
Stated more plainly, people are going to do or act in a way that is going to save themselves money and/or make themselves money. Thinking or hoping for anything else is not what I would suggest you do.
Not to suggest that some folks aren’t capable of rising above their own “self-interest.” Hey, it happens. But, more likely than not, most folks are going to do what’s in their own self-interest. And the company almost always will.
I am not suggesting that any of this is illegal or unethical. But, you need to know what you may be up against.
In this article I am going to explain how you getting money for your DBA case may directly cost the contracting company money. At least, that’s the way that the suits at the contracting company are probably going to perceive it.
Thus, when employees of the company help you win your DBA case, they are - in effect - costing the company money.
If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around this, sit tight. I’ll explain this later in this article.
So, let’s back up a tad.
You have a court case
Another thing that you need to keep in mind - you have a court case. A Judge will decide if you win or lose your case.
You're going into court in order to have the Judge award you money benefits and medical benefits. Lots of money is at stake with DBA claims. You're saying that you're entitled to these benefits under the DBA.
You can expect the DBA insurance company to have defenses. Meaning, the insurance company will have legal and factual reasons for why you should not be awarded the benefits that you are claiming.
It's you against the DBA insurance company.
You are going to need evidence in order to win your case.
Evidence that you will need in order to win your case
Don’t try this at home....
According to the MacMillian Dictionary, this phrase is used for warning someone not to try to do something that you are showing them. This phrase is often used by television presenters.
It also means that you should REALLY think twice before you try and represent yourself in your DBA case. Before you try this at home, with your DBA case, I suggest that you check out this article on the Top 10 Defense Base Act questions. (Question No. 2, on the list, and be sure to check Out Questions No. 3, 4 and 6, which are also about hiring a DBA lawyer).
Employer related evidence that you will need in order to prevail in your DBA case
Much of the evidence that you will probably need to win your DBA case will come from your employer - the overseas civilian contracting company.
1. Proof that you worked overseas;
2. Proof that you were injured (such as an incident report or other corroborating evidence);
4. Proof that you received medical treatment while overseas;
3. Proof that you were subject to harmful stimuli (if you have a cumulative trauma / occupational disease case);.
4. Proof that you were subject to stressors (if you have a PTSD case).
5. Proof of earnings. Or proof of what other people in the same job classification earned if you worked at the company for less than a year).
6. Proof of the physical requirements required in your job.
In some DBA cases, there is no dispute over the fact that the Claimant (read: the overseas civilian contractor that is injured and has a DBA case) was injured overseas.
Or that the Claimant was exposed to stressors while overseas (in a PTSD case).
In other cases, what happened or didn’t happen overseas is subject to serious dispute. In these cases, testimony and/or statements from co-workers and/or supervisors from the company can be the difference between you winning or losing your DBA case.
Sometimes the DBA insurance company will agree or stipulate to certain issues or facts
Every case is different. Sometimes the DBA insurance company will contest certain issues and other times they will “stipulate” to the issues. Meaning, they will agree that you can prove those issues. Until the DBA insurance company agrees or stipulates to any issue, you have to assume that you will need to prove the issue.
Usually the DBA insurance company will only stipulate to issues that you have documentation for.
Forces and pressures
Either way, you need to know the forces and/or pressures that the contracting company employees may be facing to try and help the insurance company beat your DBA case and/or to not help you win your DBA case.
In order for you to understand what the contracting company is facing from the DBA insurance company, it would be helpful if you read the article on an insider’s view of the DBA insurance companies.
Here is a quick primer, so you will understand the interaction between the contracting company and the DBA insurance company.
The DBA insurance companies are under tremendous pressure to not have “losses.” Simply stated, the insurance company brings in money by contracting companies paying them DBA insurance premiums. Just like you pay the insurance company to insure your automobile or home.
Every dime that the insurance company pays out in claims or losses, comes out of the insurance company’s earnings or profits.
There are two ways to limit “losses” in the insurance industry:
1. Preventing injuries before they occur:
First, is to lower risk on the front end.
Here is a direct quote from an executive in the DBA insurance industry:
“This will end up creating a market for risk managers to run their operations with as little losses as possible, as getting favorable DBA rates will create a competitive edge in the bidding process.”
In other words, the less people get injured, the less risk on the front end, so to speak. If the company is proactive and doesn’t put its folks in harms way - if you’ve been overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, you know what I’m talking about here - then they don’t get injured as often.
However, once there has been an injury, the train has left the station, so to speak.
2. Limit losses by denying and defending DBA claims:
Second, is to limit losses by denying claims and defending claims.
If you’re an injured overseas civilian contractor - this is where you fit into this “Defense Base Act insurance industry” spectrum.
So, you’re facing two “fronts,” so to speak. First is the DBA insurance company looking for any reason to deny your claim and trying to keep you from getting DBA benefits. I’ll get into this a bit more later.
Second is the overseas civilian contracting company helping the DBA insurance carrier in finding reasons to deny your claim. If you’re thinking, why would they do that? .... then I suggest that you go back and read this article on DBA insurance companies - an insider's take.
DBA insurance brokers
As I explained in the article on the insider’s view of DBA insurance companies, in the real world the contracting companies hire a broker to acquire DBA insurance. The brokers then get quotes from the DBA insurance companies. Many brokers specialize in different type of business and/or countries. The brokers will have different relationships with the DBA insurance companies.
What is a constant, however, is the DBA insurance broker will be in the ear, so to speak, of the contracting company’s executives telling them how to lower losses - both on the front end and the back end (read: defending your DBA claim).
More risk = more premiums
The more risk that the contracting company employees have to face, the higher the DBA insurance premiums.
Hostile Regions that Affect DBA—
When contractors bid for U.S. Government contracts in overseas locations, the localities to where employees are deployed can be rather volatile. These adverse environments can put employees at greater risks for their safety. U.S. Contractors should be aware of the potential implications when contracting for work to hostile countries. The risks for injury and death are much greater, as security is compromised. As a result, the likelihood of claims increases, which in turn, can affect a contractor’s DBA losses.
“Contractor’s DBA losses”
You can bet that the DBA insurance broker is harping to the contracting company that the company must do everything it can in order to lower the “contractor’s DBA losses.”
Which is just another way of saying how much money is paid to you in DBA benefits. You are a “DBA loss” from the perspective of the DBA insurance company and broker. And now, the contracting company that you work for.
Everyone is pulling in the same direction to minimize the contracting company’s “DBA losses.” Which means you getting the DBA benefits that you are owed under the law.
It all comes down to money - bidding for the contract
Let’s back up a tad. In the overseas civilian contracting world it all comes down to a bidding process.
According to industry sources, some overseas civilian contracting companies may not be able to compete for future bids because of their “loss history” due to higher premium rates. Meaning, their bids will be higher than their competitors (due to having to pay high premiums) and they won’t be able to win bids.
If the company is unable to win bids for work overseas due to their “loss history,” depending on the company, some people might lose their jobs. Some company will get the contract and people will be working for that different contracting company. But the people at the contracting company you worked at, may lose their jobs.
Not good. At least that is what the DBA insurance broker is telling the suits at the contracting company.
Or best case, these overseas civilian contracting companies won’t be able to make as much profit due to having to pay higher DBA insurance premiums.
“But they’re my friends at the company where I worked, they wouldn’t screw me over.”
These are famous last words. If your “friends” are in management, you have to assume that they are getting pressure to help finds ways to “limit their loss history.”
That DBA loss history is DBA claims, just like yours.
If your “friends” are current employees, then they may be pressured to not provide assistance to you for your DBA case.
If your “friends” are former employees of the company, you may be able to get them to help you with your DBA claim.
What kind of help are you looking for? You just want them to tell the truth
Either way, all the help that you’re looking for is simply to have people at the contracting company that you used to work for, to tell the truth. Here are some examples.
Sometimes it may be best to give the contact information to your lawyer and have your lawyers office reach out to them for you.
A knee injury
For example, if you had a knee injury, a statement by a co-employee or a manager saying they saw you just after the incident and you were limping and you showed them your knee and it was swollen up like a cantaloupe.
Or it would be helpful if an incident report was made of your knee injury and could your former supervisor please send you a copy of the incident report.
A PTSD claim
Or, for a PTSD claim, a statement by a co-employee or manager saying that you both worked at the same FOB.
The base had reinforced concrete and rebar bunkers lines with sandbags and first aid kits. When the base was under mortar attacks and rocket attacks and when folks were near a bunker, everyone sprinted to the bunker. When you weren’t near a bunker they would drop to the ground, cover their head and hope that they wouldn’t be hit.
Again, all you are looking for is someone to tell the truth. Someone that can corroborate your DBA claim.
You don’t know until you’ve asked
I have seen situations where people back at the company are glad to help. Where current and former employees and supervisors are glad to help provide corroboration that an injury occurred, medical treatment, the pay of other people with the same job classification, incident reports, etc.
I have seen other instances, where as soon as someone is injured and has gone back home they are treated completely differently. No one will talk to them or even acknowledge that they exist. Texts and emails go unreturned.
“They'd sell out their own grandma”
Bottom line: In some instances, everybody in the overseas contracting company is trying to keep “loss histories” to a minimum.
The executives are trying to keep their relatively high paying jobs. Meaning, these company executives would sell out their grandmother if they thought is would help them keep their job.
In this environment, you can best believe that the “friends” you had and your “brothers in arms,” so speak, may not be quite so friendly now that you have been injured and your DBA claim affects the company profits.
The worst case scenario is the overseas contracting company executives and the supervisors and managers are going to help the DBA insurance company gather evidence that is going to tank your DBA case. The most likely scenario is them stopping all communications with you and certainly not helping you gather evidence that is actually going to help you win your DBA case.
In other words, don’t be surprised if you're on your own.
Don't give up - time may be on your side
Here is one instance where your DBA case dragging out may end up helping you. Supervisors and co-workers that may be hesitant to help you because their job may be on the line, may be more than glad to help you once they leave the company.
I suggest that you try back in a few months. Or try and keep an ear open and if you hear that they left the company, circle back and reach out to them. Once they are no longer with the company you may have a lot more success in having them help you.
The bottom line
You just need to know where you stand. One way or the other.
You have to win your DBA case with the truth
Perhaps the most important takeaway that I can give you is that you always have to tell the truth with your DBA case. The DBA insurance company is going to hope you fall for one of their tricks or traps. They are hoping that you will lie. Or, at least not be 100% candid about something.
Fact is, the DBA insurance company will lay tricks and traps for unsuspecting people just like you that have legitimate DBA claims. People have been falling for these tricks and traps for years. This is one of the main areas I cover in my 5 Star reviewed book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case. My book is all about helping you avoid these case-killing mistakes.
The insurance company wants you to lie, so they can use it to destroy your credibility at the trial of your case. A DBA case is a court case. Nothing is more important than your credibility.
You can take this to the bank: if the Judge in your case doesn't believe you - then you will lose. It's just that simple, on one level. On so many other levels there are a whole lot of moving parts. I cover all of this in my book Win Your Defense Base Act Case.
You can order your free copy on this website. I strongly suggest you read my book before you sign any forms, give a recorded or written statement, talk to the adjuster or even hire the WRONG lawyer.
Need help right now?
Call us at 619-304-1000 - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.
Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new DBA case" in your text.
Or "chat" with us on this website.
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.