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What is Considered A Traumatic Brain Injury Under the DBA?

Making decisions based upon emotions...

A good DBA lawyer doesn’t have the same emotional attachment to your case that you have. Folks almost always evaluate their cases based upon emotion, rather than logic and clear thinking. 

Combining experience with non-emotional decision-making is the real value in hiring the right DBA lawyer.

If you want to know more about hiring the right DBA Lawyer - - check out this article on the Top 10 DBA Questions (see Questions 2, 3, 4, and 6....) 

Brain Injuries and the Defense Base Act

One of the reoccurring injuries we seen from overseas civilian contractors who have worked in Afghanistan and Iraq is brain injuries caused by trauma, blast forces and/or concussive blasts.  Under the Defense Base Act brain injuries are non-scheduled injuries. In this article, we discuss the Defense Base Act and brain injuries, medical treatment, weekly disability benefits and how these brain injuries related to PTSD.

According to many experts that have studied the relationship between blasts and brain injury - mild traumatic brain injury is seen in the USA as a signature, albeit silent, injury of the Gulf Wars. It is the result of concussion following a blow to the head and/or exposure to blast waves.


“I give you 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

Concussive blast injuries and working in a war zone

According to a prominent NCBI study on military-related traumatic brain injury, mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is the most common traumatic brain injury affecting military personnel; however, it is the most difficult to diagnose and the least well understood. The study found, four of the five veterans with early-stage chronic traumatic encephalopathy were also diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

All overseas civilian contractors know that they are work in the same war theater as do military. Civilian contractors are subject to the same injury inducing blasts as military forces are. The NCBI study found blast exposure is the leading cause of mTBI, although service members are also susceptible to concussions . Estimates of the prevalence of mTBI among returning service members range from 15.2% to 22.8%, affecting as many as 320,000 troops. 

Since overseas civilian contractors work side by side with service members, this suggests that among returning civilian contractors that 15% to 22% have mTBI. (I talk about the misnomer of calling these injuries "mild" later in this article.  

What I have seen in the real world is so many Defense Base Act cases where the civilian contractor was injured by concussive blast and is left with mTBI and PTSD. If this describes you and/or a loved one, I suggest you check out this article on the Defense Base Act and PTSD

Among soldiers there is a huge correlation between mTBI and PTSD. The NCBI study conclcuded that 44% of the soldiers with mTBI and temporary loss-of-consciousness  met criteria for PTSD. Which, of course, suggests the same is true for overseas civilian contractors who work in war theaters. 

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

There are two main causes of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). The first is hypoxia: deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching body tissues. The second is traumatic brain injury (TBI). A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be classified as mild if loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation is shorter than 30 minutes. These time of TBI are called Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (MTBI).

All Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI) are usually caused by some kind of blow to the head and are called “concussions” or “traumatic brain injuries”.

While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, the individual has cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. These injuries are commonly overlooked. Even though this type of TBI is called "mild", the effect on the family and the injured person can be devastating.

Those suffering Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) typically experience a range of impairments and levels of disability that in the long run, are often poorly associated with injury severity.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) is extremely common. There are an estimated 350,000 new cases each year and according to the National Center of Health Statistics, approximately 85% of all traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild.

The signs and symptoms of a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) may include:

1. A brief period of unconsciousness
2. Amnesia for events immediately before and after the injury
3. Memory or concentration problems
4. Confusion
5. Dizziness or loss of balance
6. Headache
7. Mood changes
8. Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears or a bad taste in the mouth


What if I have these traumatic brain injury signs and my doctor hasn't diagnosed my brain injury?

Traumatic brain injuries are oftentimes missed by medical professionals. If you suspect you or a loved one has suffered an undiagnosed brain injury, you should raise this issue with your doctors. Take this list with you and explain to your doctor the signs and symptoms you or a loved one are experiencing. In our experience, injured workers in California with traumatic brain injuries are often missed by insurance company doctors. Instead, the  California workers comp doctor will say, "You are fine, back to work." Even if there are demonstrated signs of brain injury by the California worker.

Of course, this doesn't just happen in California workers compensation cases. It occurs with people who have brain injury caused by defective products, brain injury caused by car accidents, brain injury caused by boat accidents and brain injury caused by ship accidents also.


Overseas Civilian Contractors and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Don’t be confused with the word "mild." Many DBA workers have suffered brain injuries with severe symptoms.

When working overseas these brain injuries are typically caused by IED’s, shrapnel, concussive blasts, trauma or automobile accidents.

Brain injuries are considered “Unscheduled Injuries” under the Defense Base Act. Meaning, there is no "scheduled" amount of compensation if you have a brain injury. Instead, compensation for brain injuries is based upon a wage loss concept. Meaning, that once you prove you are unable to return to your usual and customary employment, the burden shifts to the DBA insurance company to prove that you are able to perform specific jobs with you brain injury.


The DBA Insurance Company Can Deny Your Brain Injury Claim

You will see that getting treatment for a traumatic brain injury, mild or severe, from a DBA insurance company is not always easy. You will need to be ready to fight for the full treatment you or your family member need. This treatment can include:

- Neurologists
- Neuro-psychologists
- Rehabilitation Services
- Attendant Care

To get the best treatment possible and speed along your recovery you are going to need to hire a well-seasoned DBA attorney, prepare for you case and tell the truth. I cannot stress enough how important all of these things are to win your case.

You will lose your case if the DBA insurance company and their lawyers find a way to make you out to be a liar in front of the judge. Remember they get paid a lot of money to delegitimize claims, no matter how much you need that medical care.

Which is why you need to hire a lawyer that knows what to expect when they walk into a DBA case, why you need to get all the necessary evidence and documents together and why you need to be completely honest with everything involved with you DBA claim.

To learn more strategies to help you win your DBA case, get a FREE copy of my book, 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 

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.

Mr. S G
5.0 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5!
May 9, 2017

WIN YOUR DEFENSE BASE ACT CASE: Is an absolute MANDATORY read for anyone searching for information on anything DBA. This book has examples of past case studies, it also goes over the entire DBA Claim process from start to finish, the bottom line here is that its an absolute necessity for anyone that could be starting a DBA claim. The information that you'll receive within WIN YOUR DEFENSE BASE ACT CASE: is priceless and theres no way you will regret making this purchase.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Powerful Book
February 28, 2017

This is a very good book! If you or someone you care about might think they have a Defense Base Act case then you need to buy this book. This book is straight forward no BS. This is the most info available about the process dealing with DBA that I have ever found. I personally use it and have gone through the DBA process from beginning to end and I can tell you this is spot on. Mr.Turley actually cares about the people that have gone overseas healthy, risking their lives and came back injured in some form or fashion. He cared so much that he wrote this book! This book is a valuable tool to take on the DBA!

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

In fact, 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.


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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.

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.”