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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about the Jones Act, DBA, California workers’ compensation, or employment law. If you have more questions, contact us.

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  • Are explosions and gunshot wounds covered under the DBA?

    People who perform specialized work for the U.S. government are at high risk of injuries while employed overseas, especially those working in or near active combat zones. An accident involving munitions, stray gunfire, or other ballistics can have devastating effects—and workers should not have to endure the burden of financial hardship in addition to coping with the aftermath of an injury. Fortunately, there are a few ways for victims to get the compensation they need.

    Contractors Are Owed Benefits for Explosion or Gunshot Injuries

    Under federal law, defense contractors are required to provide workers' compensation insurance through the Defense Base Act (DBA) for all employees. Coverage should extend to all types of employees, from construction workers and security guards to translators and service workers. In addition, the War Hazards Compensation Act (WHCA) provides benefits to workers who are performing necessary jobs for the government but are ineligible for DBA benefits.

    One of these programs could provide compensation for:

    • Gunshot wounds. The DBA should pay for necessary medical treatment, loss of earnings, and disability for any injury that is related to your federal contractor employment, including gunfire and complications of gunshot wounds.
    • Explosions. The WHCA has a special provision for injuries caused by the discharge or explosion of munitions, collision of aircraft or water vessels, or other serious injuries that are more likely to occur in war zones.
    • Combat stress. The DBA provides payment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and other psychological injuries resulting from an overseas injury, even if you were injured as a non-combat participant.
    • Wrongful death. Both the DBA and WHCA provide benefits to children and spouses of civilian employees who are killed while working under a federal government contract.

    If you or someone you love has suffered an injury while working overseas, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible about your rights to compensation. To learn if your employer could be liable for medical costs, income replacement, and death benefits, please feel free to search our library articles or read through our free book, DBA Resource Guide.

  • How does a non-deployable medical condition affect a DBA claim?

    A worker seeking employment after a Defense Base Act injury will have a pre-existing medical condition that may make it difficult to find work overseas. If a work-related injury prevents deployment, the injured worker may qualify for permanent disability benefits. However, the employee will have to meet certain eligibility requirements before he or she can collect payment for a non-deployable medical condition.

    Non-Deployable Medical Conditions Under the Defense Base Act

    Employees working with the Department of Defense are required to be medically and psychologically fit to perform the duties required under the contract. While a pre-existing medical condition does not necessarily disqualify a worker from resuming overseas employment, a medical evaluation must be done to determine the effects that the climate, job duties, nature of the work, or operational conditions of the deployment location will have on the injured employee.

    Before a worker may be deployed overseas, the Department of Defense requires that his or her medical condition must be:

    • Stable. A pre-deployment medical evaluator must be willing to state that the condition is not reasonably likely to worsen during deployment (taking into account the work environment, daily duties, and contractor-provided medical care available in-theater) and not require any personal accommodations or impose work limitations.
    • Not life-threatening. The condition must be of a nature that, if worsening occurs, the aggravation of the injury will not likely have life-threatening effects or have a negative impact on the mission.
    • Treatable in-theater. A worker’s ongoing treatment for the condition must (including medications, routine visits, and physical therapy) be available and accessible at the deployment location. In addition, medications needed for treatment must not have special handling requirements, such as a need for refrigeration. 

    If you or someone you love has suffered an injury while working overseas, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible about your rights to benefits and recovery under the Defense Base Act. To learn if your employer could be liable for medical costs, income replacement, and death benefits, please feel free to search our library articles or read through our free book, DBA Resource Guide.

  • Am I covered under the DBA if my work aggravated a previous injury?

    Yes.

    You are entitled to DBA benefits even if you have a pre-existing injury or condition. 

    You can still get DBA benefits if you have a prior injury. 

    Under the Defense Base Act (DBA), civilian contractors are owed benefits for any injury that results from or is exacerbated by your being overseas. 

    You are still entitled to Defense Base Act benefits even if you have a previous injury. As long as your DBA injury aggravated and/or contributed toward your current injury, then you are covered under the DBA. 

     

    You can still get Defense Base Act benefits if you have a prior injury - DBA Lawyer Bill Turley

    “An insider’s view of Defense Base Act Law, with no sugar coating. No lawyer talk, no double talk. Ever." 


    Defense Base Act Lawyer - Bill Turley and author of the 5 star book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case

     

    Defense Base Act and prior injuries


    Defense Base Act and pre-existing injuries or disability

     

    In this article I answer the following questions and/or address the following issues:

    The important part is that you tell the truth - why you must ALWAYS disclose prior injuries in your Defense Base Act case

    What is the difference between a covered employer and an un-covered employer under the DBA? (This is important)

    What is the law for aggravated injury coverage under the Defense Base Act? The Aggravation Rule

    What will I have to prove in order to recover DBA benefits if I have a previous injury or condition?

    Is there apportionment under the Defense Base Act?

    What is the "double recovery rule"?

    If I have received a VA Disability award, will the DBA insurance company get a credit for the previous VA disability award?

    What if I have an injury after my DBA injury (that is an injury that is not covered by the DBA)? Supervening injuries, intervening injuries and subsequent injuries....

    Don't make common mistakes that can really tank your DBA case

    A case study - previous high school knee injury and prior VA Disability Award

     

    I suggest that you make sure that you read the preexisting injury case study at the end of this article. 

    The important part is that you tell the truth - why you must ALWAYS disclose prior injuries in your Defense Base Act case

    Some folks are reluctant to disclose that they have had a previous injury -a significant injury or even a more minor injury. They are probably concerned that if they reveal they had a previous injury, then they will be unable to receive DBA benefits. This is a mistake. Usually a BIG mistake. 

    When people fail to disclose that they have had a previous injury, medical condition and/or disability, then they won't be credible to the Judge. It is always best to be honest about a previous injury. 

    As I explain below, unless you have received permanent disability for your injury under the Longshore Act/ Defense Base Act and/or a state workers compensation system, then you're going to get a DBA permanent disability award for your entire disability.  Thus, you are going to lose money by disclosing the previous injury/ disability. 

    What is the difference between a covered employer and an un-covered employer under the DBA? (This is important) 

    A covered employer under the DBA is an employer that is covered under the DBA. That is an overseas civilian contracting company. If your previous injury was with a covered employer (meaning it happened while working as an overseas civilian contractor); then your injury falls under the last responsible employer rule. 

    If your previous injury was not with a covered employer (meaning your previous injury did not occur while working as an overseas civilian contractor); then your current employer (read: the employer that you suffered your DBA injury with); is responsible for your entire disability and all of your medical treatment. 

    For more on this, I suggest you read this article on the last responsible employer rule.

     

    What is the law for aggravated injury coverage under the Defense Base Act? The Aggravation Rule

    There is still coverage under the DBA if you aggravated a prior condition or prior injury.

    Under the aggravation rule, if you have a previous injury, disability and/or medical condition and you aggravate it due to your being overseas - then the entire injury, disability and/or medical condition is compensable. Cordero v. Triple A Mach. Shop, 580 F.2d 1331, 1337 (1978).

    The exception to this rule is the "double recovery rule."  See below. 

    The Ninth Circuit has held that the last responsible employer rule should be applied only in occupational disease cases, and the aggravation rule in successive injury or cumulative trauma cases.  Foundation Constructors, Inc. v. Director, OWCP, 950 F.2d 621, 623-24 (9th Cir. 1991).

     

    What will I have to prove in order to recover DBA benefits if I have a previous injury or condition?

    In order to recover DBA benefits, all you have to prove is that you had an increase in symptoms due to the new DBA injury. That's it. 

    In other words, you have to prove that after you had your DBA injury, the part of your body that you injured hurt more than it did just before you were injured. 

    Look at it this way - why would you fail to reveal that you had a previous injury if all you have to prove in order to receive DBA benefits is an increase of symptoms? 

     

    Is there apportionment under the Defense Base Act? 

    No. Under the DBA you don't apportion part of your disability or part of your medical treatment between different employers. If your previous injury, disability and/or condition was due to your working with an uncovered employer (see above); then all of your disability benefits and medical treatment are owed by your DBA employer. Cordero v. Triple A Mach. Shop, 580 F.2d 1331, 1337 (1978); Todd Shipyards Corp. v. Black, 717 F.2d 1280, 1286 (1983).

    If your previous injury, disability and/or condition was due to your working with an covered employer (see above); then all of your disability benefits and medical treatment are owed by one employer and which employer that is, is determined by the last responsible employer rule

    What is the "double recovery rule"?

    The exception to all of this is the double recovery rule. If you have received compensation for a previous injury, disability and/or medical condition under either the Longshore Act/ Defense Base Act or a state workers' compensation award, then the DBA insurance company will get a credit for this previous award.  

    For any injury which was a partial cause of the underlying disability, the last aggravating employer or carrier may be entitled to credits for these prior awards.  There is no credit, however, for any previous injury for which you may have been entitled to receive an award, but in fact did not get it.  33 U.S.C. § 3(e); Strachan Shipping Co. v. Nash, 782 F.2d 513 (5th Cir. 1986) (en banc), aff'g 751 F.2d 1460 (5th Cir. 1985), aff'g 15 BRBS 386 (1983); Bracey v. John T. Clark & Son of Maryland, 12 BRBS 110 (1980).

     

    If I have received a VA Disability award, will the DBA insurance company get a credit for the previous VA disability award? 

    No.

    The only credit under the DBA is for a previous permanent disability award under the Longshore Act/ Defense Base Act or a state workers' compensation award.  The DBA insurance company will not get a credit for a previous VA disability award. Todd Shipyards Corp. v. Director, OWCP, 848 F.2d 125 (CA9 1998).

    In other words, you can get a "double-recovery" for a DBA permanent disability even if your DBA injury aggravates your previous VA Disability Award injury. Todd Shipyards Corp. v. Director, OWCP, 848 F.2d 125 (CA9 1998).

     

    What if I have an injury after my DBA injury (that is an injury that is not covered by the DBA)? Supervening injuries, intervening injuries and subsequent injuries....

    What happens if you have a later or subsequent injury by a non-covered employer or by, for example, an automobile accident? 

    Here, the law may be different for occupational diseases than it is for "injuries."

    The Ninth Circuit has held that for occupational disease cases (where the last responsible employer rule applies) later exposure in employment not covered by the DBA does not relieve the last longshore employer of liability. Todd Shipyards Corp. v. Black, 717 F.2d 1280 (9th Cir. 1983).

    The law is not quite so clear for "injuries." Like for example, a back injury. 

    As one court observed: 

    "[a] subsequent injury is compensable if it is the direct and natural result of a compensable primary injury, as long as the subsequent progression of the condition is not shown to have been worsened by an independent cause." Miss. Coast Marine, Inc. v. Bosarge, 637 F.2d 994, 1000 (5th Cir. 1981). We apply a liberal causation standard when determining the coverage of initial and subsequent injuries. Bludworth Shipyard, Inc. v. Lira, 700 F.2d 1046, 1051 (5th Cir. 1983)."
    Ramsay Scarlett & Co. v. Dir., OWCP, 806 F.3d 327, 333 (5th Cir. 2015)

    Which sounds pretty good for you. But wait, there's more. 

    What is this "independent cause" that the court was talking about?  Like you have a DBA back injury and you get into a vehicle accident after you get home and your back injury is worsened?  What then? What if your back condition was worsened by the vehicle accident?  Is that an independent cause? 

    “[T]o receive benefits under the LHWCA for a subsequent injury, the claimant must present substantial evidence that the secondary condition "naturally or unavoidably" resulted from the first covered injury, as is required by the statute.”
    Amerada Hess Corp v. Dir., OWCP, 543 F.3d 755, 763( 5th Cir. 2008)

    Thus, if you have a DBA back injury (or any orthopedic injury, for example) and then you have a later (subsequent) injury - for example a serious vehicle accident);  and your back condition was worsened, you can expect the employer/ DBA insurance carrier to argue that you are no longer eligible for DBA medical and disability benefits. 

    Don't make common mistakes that can really tank your DBA case

    Not telling your doctor or the DBA insurance company about pre-existing injuries, disability and/or medical conditions is a common mistake that well meaning folks make that can really mess up their DBA cases. This is just one of the many mistakes that I talk about in my 5 Star book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.   

    The DBA insurance companies are hoping that you will fall for one of their tricks or traps - like not disclosing a prior injury or medical condition. 

    My office gets contacted every month by folks just like you that either didn't get the "memo," so to speak or unfortunately, ignored it, because they thought they would be good.

    Sometimes, in spite of all this we can "fix" their case. Sometimes we can't. Either way, all of the negative issues with your DBA case will lessen the settlement value of your case and/or increase the odds that you will not win your case at trial. 

    The good news is that most of these mistakes are avoidable, if you spot them and know how to deal with them. I explain all about this in my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case. 

    Thus, the first step you need to take is to get, then read my book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case. In the book, I explain the steps you need to take to not fall for their tricks and traps.

     

    I lay all of this out in my 5 Star book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.  

    Win Your Defense Base Act Case - even if you have a pre-existing condition or injury

    I suggest that you check out of of the 5 Star reviews on amazon.com

    You can either buy my book on amazon.com or get a free copy of my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case here

    A case study - previous high school knee injury and prior VA Disability Award

    Chris is an overseas civilian contractor that is working in Afghanistan as a security consultant. Chris has a very serious knee injury when he falls into a ditch while out on patrol.  Chris receives two knee surgeries and has an 42% AMA impairment of the left lower extremity (left leg).  Chris had a previous high school left knee injury. Chris injured his left knee while he was in the U.S. military.  Chris had knee surgery. Due to the service related knee injury, Chris received a VA Disability Award for a 10% disability to his left knee. 

    Chris' doctor opines that that his current disability is, in part, due to the arthritic changes in his knee and the military left knee injury. 

    The DBA insurance company sends him to a doctor that opines that Chris has a 35% AMA impairment of the left knee. The insurance company doctor apportions 30% of  the disability to the high school football injury and the military injury. 

    The DBA insurance company adjuster tells Chris that the DBA insurance company should get a credit and reduction due to his previous high school injury and VA Disability Award. 

    Chris lawyers-up.  His lawyers explain to him that the DBA insurance is simply wrong.  There is no "credit" or "apportionment" due to the high school football injury, the VA disability award and/or the arthritic injuries to his left knee. 

    The case is settled for the entire left knee disability being compensable under the Defense Base Act.  The parties settle on a 40% AMA impairment of the left leg. There is no credit and/or apportionment for a pre-existing injury and/or pre-existing disability. 

     

    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 wage case" in your text.
     
    Or leave us a message on this webpage
     

     
    This article isn't legal advice
     
    These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, case studies, 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 or folks don’t get the result they were hoping for.
     
    Just because we have gotten great results in so many other DBA cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Every case is different.
     

  • What constitutes discrimination in a maritime injury claim?

     

    Longshore Law

    Federal maritime laws provide many protections for workers who spend the majority of their time on the water. While the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) and Jones Act are primarily known for providing payment for maritime injuries, these laws also protect the employment of any worker who legally asserts a claim.

    Discriminatory Actions in Longshore Act Injury Claims

    Maritime employees cannot be fired, removed from duty, or otherwise discriminated against for exercising their rights under the law. Discrimination may take many forms, including disparate treatment (treating the worker differently from other employees in similar circumstances) or disparate impact (adhering to employment practices that have a discriminatory or adverse effect for some workers and not others).

    Under federal maritime statutes, is illegal to discriminate against a worker for:

    Claiming injury compensation:

    Workers cannot be demoted or fired because they claimed or are attempting to claim compensation for maintenance and cure under the Jones Act.

    Testifying in court:

    Employees are protected when testifying in a proceeding under the Jones Act.

    Reporting safety violations:

    Maritime employees are required to report violations of maritime safety laws to the appropriate federal agency. As a result, any worker who has notified the employer of an unsafe condition that has gone uncorrected is protected when notifying the Coast Guard (or federal government) of the violation.

    Refusal to work due to safety concerns:

    If a worker notifies an employer of unsafe workplace conditions and the conditions are not corrected, the worker may legally refuse to perform duties that may cause injury related to the hazard.

    Becoming injured or disabled:

    Employees who are injured or disabled in the course of employment cannot be discriminated against.

     

     

    An injured worker who can successfully prove that the employer discriminated against him—even if the discrimination was only partially motivated by a protected action—could be owed compensation under the Longshore Act. Section 48 gives terminated employees the right to seek reinstatement of former employment, including payment of back wages. In addition, employers who violate discrimination laws may be ordered to pay fines up to $5,000, as well as the worker’s reasonable attorney fees.

     

  • What is a “good-faith” dispute in a wage and hour case?

    One of the issues that arise when your employer doesn't pay you the wages you are owed is whether or not the non-payment of wages was in "good-faith."  Make no mistake about it - this "good-faith dispute doesn't keep you from being paid the wages you are owed under the law. You are still entitled to your wages. 

    However, if the employer can prove that not paying you certain wages was based upon a "good-faith" defense - then you may not be entitled to these wages? Specifically we are talking about waiting time penalties and liquidated damages. I explain what these are in this article and how it may affect the wages that you may be owed. 

    When Can an Employer Claim a Good Faith Dispute?

    The good news is that, even by making a good-faith defense, the employer agrees that the employee’s claim is valid. However, the defense allows an employer to state the reason why the wages were not paid on time—and if the reason is valid, the employer can get out of paying some or all of the waiting time penalties.

    Depending on which good faith dispute is made, an employer may be able to escape liability for:

    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    What makes this all worthwhile - when employees receive their checks for unpaid wages!

    Waiting Time Penalties:

    When your employer pays you late when you terminate your employment - you are entitled to waiting time penalties. Here is a great article on California waiting time penalties

    By law, employers are required to pay all outstanding wages owed to a worker within 72 hours of the employee’s last shift. If you give notice that you are quitting or you are fired, then your employer must pay all of your wages on your last day. 

    If this is not done, the employee can collect waiting time, which is an additional day of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each day the worker is kept waiting for his or her final wages.

    A “good faith” dispute removes an employer’s liability to pay waiting time penalties to an employee.

    However, the worker is not eligible for waiting time penalties in California if the employer shows that there was a good reason the wages were not paid.

    Let's look a little closer. 

    When the law is uncertain, than the employer may have a good faith dispute. 

    Liquidated Damages:

    If your employer fails to pay you at least minimum wages for all hours that you work, then you are entitled to liquidated damages. 

    Under some circumstances, an employer can admit that the company owes you back pay while also reducing the number of liquidated damages you are owed. Liquidated damages are an additional amount equal to the amount of back pay owed, and are intended to punish the employer for wrongdoing. If the employer had reason to believe that he or she was doing the right thing—for example, listening to the advice of a lawyer who gave misinformation—then the company may not be liable for liquidated damages.

    But know this, the company has the burden of proving that not paying you wages for all time you worked was in "good-faith." While this is possible, in the real world, it's very difficult. 

     

    Bill Turley regularly is invited to testify before the California State Senate and California Assembly 

    What is an unpaid wages analysis? 


    The best way for California workers to find out how much unpaid wages you're owed is by getting a confidential, no-obligation, free unpaid wages analysis. For more information on how you can claim your free unpaid wages analysis check this out. 

    What you are going to find is that whenever you suspect that you aren't getting paid all the wages that you are owed under California wage laws, then you are probably owed a lot more wages and/or penalties than you realize.  I suggest that you don't leave your hard earned money in the company's wallet.  These are your wages and you need to take action to recover the hard earned wages that you are owed. 

    San Diego Attorney Journal called Bill Turley - California's Leading Wage and Hour Class Action Lawyer 


    Bill Turley on the cover of San Diego Attorney Journal magazine.


    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 wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

     

    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.

  • How far could I travel for a Defense Base Act medical exam?

    Injured employees should not be asked to go out of their way to see the insurance company doctor.

    Injured employees shouldn't be asked to go out of their way to see the insurance company doctor.

    Unfortunately, insurers routinely ask employees to do just that by scheduling a Defense Base Act medical examination a long distance from the employee’s home.

    By law, the employee must attend a special medical examination in a place designated by the employer. The law does provide that the place of examination be a “reasonable” distance for the employee to travel, but the definition of “reasonable” can vary widely.

    Factors That Can Affect Traveling to a Defense Medical Exam

    Employers and insurers know that making a long trek to a medical exam will be difficult for the employee, and often use this to their advantage. If the employee does not attend the exam, he will be barred from receiving benefits, saving the company money. If the employee is able to make the trip outside his geographic area to the doctor’s office, the insurance company can argue that the employee’s injuries must not have been that bad.

    There may be a way to avoid traveling long distances to your DBA examination. It is important to consider the following before accepting an examination date:

    Method of Travel:

    You cannot be asked to travel long distances if doing so would aggravate your injury. If your condition prevents you from traveling in a plane or driving for long periods, the judge in your case may instruct the insurer to choose a location closer to your home.

    Reimbursement: 

    The insurance company is responsible for paying the costs of your examination, as well as the costs of travel to and from the appointment. Sometimes this is paid in advance, but it can also be reimbursed if the employee fronts the cost. If an employee is under significant financial hardship and the insurance company will not pay travel expenses up front, the employee may be able to appeal to a judge for a closer appointment.

    Hiring an attorney: 

    If there is not a sufficiently good reason for you to travel to the doctor that the insurer has chosen, your attorney can fight to get the appointment rescheduled for you. Your lawyer can also attend the appointment with you to make sure your rights are respected.

    It is vital that claimants have as much information as possible in order to win compensation for their injuries. Click here to read through our free book on DBA claims, Win Your Defense Base Act Case.

    Be sure to claim your free copy of the 5 Star Book Win Your Defense Base Act Case 

    Win Your Defense Base Act Case by Bill Turley

    This is an eye-opening book that gives you an insider's view of the Defense Base Act and how to beat the DBA insurance company. This book will take you step by step on how to avoid the DBA insurance company tricks and traps that are designed to destroy your DBA claim. 

    If you do one thing - you owe it to yourself to read the 5 Star reviews of the book on amazon.com!!

    5 Stars on Amazon.com

    I suggest you read my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case before you talk to the insurance adjustergive a statementsign any forms or even hire the wrong lawyer.

    Check out all of the 5 Star Reviews on amazon.com 

    Jay
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Turley's book is clearly written and an easy read. Highly recommended for anyone covered under DBA ...
    February 20, 2017

    I suggest buying a copy of the book immediately and reading it if you are covered under DBA and are either deployed or facing an upcoming deployment. It is better to be armed with information regarding DBA coverage and claims process prior to being injured.

     

    Christopher R.
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great book!!! Lots of information to help with your DBA case!
    May 9, 2017

    I got this book a week ago and have read through it. It has tons of great information that you would not normally know about regarding your DBA injury or how to deal with your insurance adjuster. It helps you navigate some law and breaks it down "barney style" so contractors can understand how to navigate through all your medical and legal processes. I would recommend this book for any contractor working for the USG overseas.

    Charlie
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Must read!
    July 27, 2015

    Without Turley Law Firm, I wouldn't have known which direction to go with my my case and have no way of understanding how to work my way through the battlefield of insurance companies and procedures. My advice is to read this book and gain some knowledge so that you are better prepared for the fight ahead. Be patient and have a good line of communication with whomever you choose to help you with your case.

     

    dmc
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    This book is awesome, he tells you about the whole process
    December 11, 2015

    I would like to say thank you to Mr. Turley for writing this book. During the 2 years it took to mediate a settlement I used this book exclusively to counsel myself, my family and friends. This book was my guiding light. Use it as your “cornerstone” to ensure your DBA case has a solid foundation. If I would of taken on the DBA Insurance company by myself then my case was likely to fall apart. Protect your rights, seek professional counsel. If you want the best representation, kindly request the Turley Law Firm to represent you.

     


     

    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 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 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.

  • Should I bring a lawyer to my Defense Base Act medical exam?

    It is a good idea to bring someone with you to your Defense Base Act medical examination.

    Although these appointments are referred to as “independent” medical exams, they are paid for by the DBA insurance company and you will be examined by a doctor of their choice—and the point of the exam is to find ways to deny your claim. While you must attend the appointment in order to have your benefits approved, taking an attorney with you can help your case a great deal.

    What a Lawyer Does During Your Medical Exam

    Your attorney can be helpful to your case even before you attend the exam. Your lawyer should look over any paperwork you have been asked to complete as part of the exam and advise you on what you should and should not bring to the appointment. He or she will also give you a rundown of what will happen during the exam and offer advice on each stage of the appointment.

    The most helpful things an attorney can do during a DBA medical exam include:

    Prevent You From Helping The Defense Case:

    A Defense Base Act attorney should be familiar with common tactics DBA doctors use to get evidence that hurts your case. Your attorney should sit right next to you during the exam and answer any questions that are put to you. If the doctor asks leading questions or makes assumptions, your lawyer can ask the doctor to rephrase or clarify any statements he makes.

    Take Detailed Notes:

    It can be hard for claimants to remember everything that happens in an IME because they are focused on the physical aspects of the examination. Your attorney can do some behind-the-scenes work that can later shed light on your case, including timing each portion of the examination, setting up a tape recorder or taking a video of the entire exam, taking notes on the defense doctor's body language and the types of tests administered, and making notes to investigate the doctor’s claims later.

    Intervene On Your Behalf:

    Your attorney should know what is and is not permitted in an IME in California. For example, you cannot be asked to undergo any test or procedure that causes you pain. You also do not have to submit to any testing (such as an x-ray) that was not previously agreed to before the exam.

    It is vital that claimants have as much information as possible in order to win compensation for their injuries. Click here to get a free copy of our free book on DBA claims, Win Your Defense Base Act Case

  • Can I get pain and suffering in a Defense Base Act claim?

    Depending on Circumstances, Yes or No, sort of...

    The Defense Base Act (DBA) offers many protections for civilian contractors working overseas. One of these is that workers do not have to prove fault or negligence of their employers in order to get injury compensation. They just have to prove that their injuries were caused or worsened due to being overseas. 

    However, this guarantee of coverage comes at a price. By agreeing to pay the medical costs of a worker’s injury, employers cannot be sued for additional costs of an accident, such as lost wages and pain and suffering.

    However, it's not this cut and dry. On any level. Let me explain. 

    Defense Base Act Lawyer - Bill Turley on Money for Pain and Suffering
    Defense Base act Lawyer Straight talk. Always. - Bill Turley

    The Defense Base Act - Scheduled and Unscheduled Injuries

    Generally, there are two different types of injuries under the Defense Base Act: scheduled disabilities and unscheduled disabilities. In order to determine whether you are entitled to permanent disability compensation under the DBA, you first need to determine whether you have a scheduled injury or an unscheduled injury. Simply put, any injury to a body part not listed on the schedule is an unscheduled injury. (Scheduled vs. Unscheduled Injuries).

    Can I get monies for pain and suffering with a scheduled injury under the DBA? 

    If you have an injury that is listed as a scheduled injury, then you are only able to receive disability moneys pursuant to the "schedule."  Not to suggest that it is cut and dried and simple, because it's not. But the concept is fairly easy to understand.  You will need to calculate your disability under the schedule. With scheduled injuries, there is not money for "pain and suffering" under the Defense Base Act. 


    Can I get monies for pain and suffering with a non-scheduled injury under the DBA? 

    With non-scheduled injuries, however, it is a wage loss concept. The links I have provided here explain these concepts. 

    Since it's a wage loss concept, with a non-scheduled injury, you receive disability monies based upon not being able to return to your usual and customary employment. If the pain and suffering you have prevents you from returning to your usual and customary employment, then you can recover disability monies due to your wage loss. 

    Stated differently, you don't get more money under the Defense Base Act for pain and suffering. However, if you have a non-scheduled injury and the pain from your injury prevents you from doing your overseas civilian contractor job, then you can recover weekly disability monies. 

    And, you may be able to settle your DBA case for a lump-sum settlement

    Not what  you wanted to hear?

    I get that. My job is to tell you how it really is, not tell you what you may want to hear. 

    If you are relying on pain and suffering to win your DBA case, you are probably in for some rough sledding. 

    I suggest you read my book - Win Your Defense Base act Case

    WIn Your Defense Base Act Case

    This is an eye-opening book that gives you an insider's view of the Defense Base Act and how to beat the DBA insurance company. This book will take you step by step on how to avoid the DBA insurance company tricks and traps that are designed to destroy your DBA claim. 

    If you do one thing - you owe it to yourself to read the 5 Star reviews of the book on amazon.com!!

    Need Help Today?

    You can call us. 619-304-1000

     

    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.

  • How can I prove that my employer owes me unpaid wages?

    What knowledge, proof and/or evidence do I need for my California wage case?

    In order to get compensation for a wage and hour violation, you need two things: you must know how state and/or federal wage and hour laws apply to you, and you must be able to prove how much you have worked, how much you have been paid and how much you are owed in unpaid wages. 

    What you're going to find is this isn't as crazy as it might first appear. The hardest part is knowing what to look for. That is, how employer's regularly try and get away with not paying workers all of the wages they are owed. 

    This is where a good, honest California wage lawyer can really help. 

    In this article, I discuss the knowledge, proof and/or evidence that is needed in order to prevail in your unpaid wages case. 

     

    How do I gather evidence for a wage and hour claim?

    In order to start you wage and hour lawsuit you don't always need "concrete proof" that your employer owes you wages that you have not received. For example, we have started and won huge wage and hour cases with only what our client was telling us. 

    Now, don't get me wrong. In order to win your wage and hour lawsuit, you are going to need proof. 

    Usually, this can be done in the following ways:

    Paycheck stubs 

    This is the first place to start. In order to know if you've been paid all of the wages you're owed you should first check what you have been paid for.

     

    What if I don't have my paycheck stubs - can I still bring an unpaid wages lawsuit in California? 

    Yes. If you don't have your pay stubs, you can still bring and win a wages case in California. 

    Under California law, all employers are required by both Labor Code Section 226 and the Wage Orders to keep paycheck stubs. So, if you don't have your pay stubs, you can easily get them. 

     

    Can I win my wage case if I don't have detailed records of the hours that I worked? 

    You don't need to keep detailed records of the hours you work.  

    If possible, you shouldn’t rely on just your pay stub to tell you when and where you worked. Whenever possible you should  keep your own schedule in a separate calendar that can be used to double-check your hours against your employer’s records. There are apps for phones that will keep track of the hours that your work. 

    If you haven't done this - that's okay. We regularly win unpaid wages cases where our client didn't keep track of the hours that they worked. 

    What you're looking for here is to see if you're employer has paid you for all of the time that you worked.  A lot of company's will shave time. That is, not count a few minutes here and a few minutes here. 

    Another thing company's will do is deduct for meal periods when you're not really relieved of all duties. Which is illegal under California law. 

     

    Time keeping records (your punch records) 

    The California Wage Orders require employers to keep accurate time keeping records. When employers fail to keep accurate time keeping records the courts are very understanding and will allow you to prove the time that you work with your testimony and estimates.  This is because when the company fails to meet their duty to maintain accurate time keeping records that falls on the company - not you. 

    How can I prove that my supervisor "adjusted my time records," "took time away from me," "inserted a meal period" and/or "deducted time from my paycheck?"  .... Electronic time keeping records, time shaving, and time record adjustments 

    When your supervisor "adjusts" the time that you work - such as inserting a meal period when you didn't take one or "deducting" 15 minutes here or a half-hour there - - there are almost always electronic records of the time changes. That's the beauty behind most all timekeeping programs that are used today.  There are always records of when their are "adjustments," or "meal period inserts," or "time-shaving" or the like. 

    When your supervisor alters your time keeping records then there is an electronic trail of these changes being made. Most programs also make a record of who makes the changes, when the changes are made and some require an explanation of why the time-keeping changes were made. 

    If you suspect that your supervisor or the company is altering your time records - then you need to contact the best, honest wage lawyer that that you can find.  This is not only illegal - it is time theft or payroll theft. 

     

    Check your classification:

    Some employees are ineligible for overtime based on the income they earn or the tasks they perform. If your employer has classified you as exempt when you are not, you could be owed back pay dating all the way back to your hire date.

    Check additional pay categories:

    Employers are required to pay workers for any unused vacation or paid time off after a worker leaves employment, so always make sure your leave balances have been accounted for.

    Take note of dates:

    Not only are employees entitled to full and accurate pay, they have a right to receive these payments within a reasonable amount of time. Check your calendar closely to see if you could be owed interest on your unpaid wages as well as an additional waiting time penalty.

    After you have collected this evidence, you should speak with an attorney to determine if you have a valid wage and hour claim. Under California law, you can collect unpaid overtime for up to three years prior to the date you file your claim, so it is vital that you act quickly. Please feel free to use our website to learn how to get proper compensation under California pay laws.

    Not getting paid meal period and rest period premiums 

    Under California law, you're entitled to getting paid an hour's pay when you're not provided a legal meal period or rest break. Click here for an in depth article on California's meal break laws and California's rest break laws. 

     

    Get a free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis 

    If this sounds like it's a lot of work for you, then click here to find out more on how to get a free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis. 

     

     

    Why Bill is asked to testify concerning wage law legislation at the California State Senate and the California Assembly

     

    Bill Turley is regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California Assembly concerning potential wage legislation. The California legislature is how wage laws are made.

    Usually when Bill testifies before the California State Senate on wage and hour issues, Bill is the only class action lawyer invited to testify at the hearing.


    Bill testifies regularly before the California State Assembly and California State Senate on the new PAGA bill (read: wage theft legislation).

     


    Why we offer workers a confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis


    Straight - forward, No B.S.
     
    If you follow me at all, you’ll know that I’m all about telling like it is. Believe it or not, I’m know for being straight up. It’s why I’m the go-to guy in Sacramento on wage and hour law. I’m the wage and hour class action lawyer that is regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California State Assembly on wage legislation.  The reason I’m always asked to testify is that I’m going to give it to them straight. No B.S.
     
    I tell people what they need to hear - not what they want to hear. So here I go again. This isn’t going to be popular.  But here is the reason why I offer workers a confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis.
     
    The truth is that there are only a handful of wage class action lawyers in California that can properly analyze an unpaid wages case. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m just telling you like it is.   
     
    There are a lot of bad lawyers out there that call themselves experts in unpaid wage law
     
    The problem for you is that there are dozens of dozens of lawyers that will rank high on your Google search that just aren’t very good lawyers. In fact, most of them are not good lawyers. How do I know this? Because I see them screw up cases all the time.
     
    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    It feels really good when you get your check for unpaid wages owed to you!
     

    Not all lawyers are alike

    I’ve been blessed in a few respects.  I’ve been in a firm that is one of the top five unpaid wages class action firms in California.
     
    I’ve had the opportunity to be a student of the law. When the other lawyers I’ve worked with have been handling all these unpaid wages class action cases, I’ve been blessed to be allowed to simply study the law. To have the time to think about new strategies, new theories, new ways to enforce California’s wage and hour laws. take what I’ve learned in my studying and have applied it to our cases.
     
    This where I’m coming from here. You can gather all the evidence you want - and that is very helpful, don’t get me wrong. But unless you’ve been studying California wage law for years, you’re just not going to get it. You’re not going to “spot all the issues,” so to speak.
     
    And the problem you also face is that most lawyers that you are thinking about hiring - they aren’t going to get it also. I know this because I see other lawyers screw these cases up all the time. I know this isn’t popular to say - but it’s the truth. They may have fancy websites, they might talk a good game - - but at the end of the day - they just aren’t that good and many are down-right bad. Even terrible. 

    My best advice - claim your free unpaid wages analysis

    So my best advice to you is that if you suspect that you haven’t been paid all the wages that you are owed under California law, that you avail yourself of our confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis.
     
    I’m not saying you have to hire my or you will lose your case. I’m just saying that there are only a handful of lawyers that I would trust to win your unpaid wages case in California.
     
    So, after we have conducted your confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis - - and you don’t want me to help you, I’ll give you the names of a handful of other wage and hour class action lawyers that I trust will do a great job for you and your co-employees.
     

    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 wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

    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.

  • Can a California employer fire a worker who is out on a leave of absence?

    Not to give you a lawyer like answer, but, it depends.  

     
    The short answer is “Yes,” if your employer has less than fifty (50) employees. That is, your employer can fire you if you take a leave of absence. Assuming, that is the reason why you were fired.
     
    If this is you, I suggest you keep reading to see what you other legal options are to get money compensation from your employer.
     
    If your employer has more than 50 employees than you may be protected if you take a leave of absence and you are an eligible employee under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  I explain these in more depth in this article.
     

    What if I was fired from work in California - what are my other legal options for getting money compensation from my employer?

     
    Put another way, all the time I have folks contact our office with one employment law problem and we do a legal analysis and figure out that they have significant (read: they may be entitled to a lot of money compensation) other employment law claims.
     
    The last thing you want to do is for you to leave your hard earned money on the table, so to speak, when you’ve been fired from your job is California.
     
    So, I suggest that if this is you - that is, you have been fired from your job in California, you check out this article on “What are my legal rights to compensation if I have been fired from my job in California.”


    California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

     
    California Family Rights Act (CFRA) covers you if your employer does business in California and employs 50 or more part time or full-time employees.
     

    CFRA Leave Requirements 

    The following are the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requirements:
     
    • In order to be eligible for CFRA leave, you must be an employee with more than 12 months of service with your employer and you must have worked at least 1,250 hours for your employer in the 12-month period before the leave begins.
     
    If you are an eligible employee:
     
    • You may take an unpaid leave to bond with an adopted or foster child or to bond with a newborn.
     
    •  You may take unpaid leave to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition.
     
    •  You may take unpaid leave for your own serious health condition.
     
    • If you are a full-time employee, you may take leave of up to 12 work weeks in a 12-month period.
     
    • If you are a part-time employee, you may take leave on a proportional basis.
     
    • The leave does not need to be taken in one continuous period of time.
     
    Other requirements:
     
    • Your employer may require a 30-day advance notice of the need for a CFRA qualifying leave. When this is not possible due to the unexpected nature of the leave, notice should be given as soon as practicable.
     
    • Your notice can be written or verbal and should include the timing and the anticipated duration of the leave. However, I suggest that you try and document your request in writing, so you can document that the request was made and when it was made.
     
    As a practical matter, you can call or tell your supervisor in person and send them a confirming email. You can send a copy to yourself to have “proof.”
     
    • Your employer must respond to your leave request within 10 calendar days.
     
    If a response is not received in 10 days, you might think about sending them a friendly email as a follow up.
     
    As with most things in life, as my Mom said, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. As a practical matter, you really don’t want a CFRA lawsuit, you want to be able to take your legally mandated leave and come back to work. And if you do end up having to file a CFRA lawsuit, you want to be reasonable because this will all be evidence in your case.
     
    • Your employer may require written communication from the health-care provider of the child, parent, spouse, or employee with a serious health condition stating the reasons for the leave and the probable duration of the condition.
     

    Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

     
    If you are eligible for leave under the CFRA, you may also be entitled for leave under Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). Employers of five or more persons have additional obligations under the PDL.


    Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI) or “Paid Family Leave”

     
    Employees on CFRA leave of absence may also be eligible for six weeks of paid leave under FTDI, a program administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD).
     
    PFL does not provide job protection, only monetary benefits; however, your job may be protected through other federal or state laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    It feels really good when you get your check for unpaid wages owed to you!

     

    Understanding the Protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

    Employees may believe that their jobs are protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). While this law provides employees with twelve weeks of unpaid leave each year to cope with unforeseen illness or family problems, it does not apply to all workplaces. Employees can only enjoy the protections of the FMLA if they:

    • Work at a company that has 50 or more employees
    • Have worked for the company for at least one year
    • Have completed at least 1,250 hours of work for the employer in the required year of employment
    • Do not exceed twelve weeks of absences

    The FMLA states that employees cannot be fired for taking their guaranteed weeks of medical leave, and they cannot be retaliated against for doing so. When employees return from FMLA leave, their employers are required to employ them in their former positions or in a job that is substantially similar. If the employee is on leave due to a medical disability, an employer cannot terminate the employee due to the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Not only is it illegal to discriminate against an employee with a disability, an employer must attempt to make reasonable accommodations that will allow the employee to do his or her job.

    Employers can terminate an employee for reasons unrelated to leave and can do so whether the employee is on leave or not. For example, if an employee goes over the allotted twelve weeks, even by one day, the employer could terminate him or her for excessive absences. The important thing to remember is that while employers may terminate an employee while on protected leave, the employer must provide a legitimate reason for termination that is unrelated to the leave. 

     

    Bill Turley is California's leading employment law lawyer - that is why he is frequently asked to testify before the California State Senate and California State Assembly on California employment law

    Bill Turley testifying at the California Senate


    Are you owed a lot of money in unpaid wages? 

    Find out with a no obligation, free, confidential unpaid wages audit


    Basically, an unpaid wages audit will help you determine whether you have been paid all of the wages that you are entitled to under California law.  Whether it is an ex-employer that you have worked for in the last four years or a current employer, I suggest that you have an unpaid wages audit. 


    Based upon what I see every day by talking to workers in California that contact our office, many folks have no idea how their employer is not paying them the wages they are owed under California.


    Your first step is contacting our office. First we will talk with you in order to get an initial determination of whether you are owed unpaid wages. This is a no obligation, and free.


    If we go forward with the unpaid wages audit, you will never have to pay us. Ever.

    It is up to you how you want to proceed after we explain to you the results. If we agree to accept your case, all of our fees will be approved by the court and paid directly by the company.

     

    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 wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

     

    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. In other words, you outcome may vary. Just because we have had great results in so many employment law cases, doesn't guarantee any particular result with your case. Every case is different.