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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.

William Turley
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