I am a Defense Base Act attorney practicing nationwide and Veteran of the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. I have been an injury attorney for nearly 20 years. In any given year, I settle million in DBA claims alone. Below you will find 5 tips, which will help further successful resolution of your claim.
1. Hire a DBA attorney.
You should hire an attorney soon after you are injured. You only have one year from the date of your injury to file form LS-203 with the DOL. Further, from the date you are injured, you will be contacted by the DBA insurer. Having a lawyer communicate with the adjuster or insurance company attorney takes the stress off you so you can concentrate on healing.
2. Obtain a job.
Because you were likely a high wage earner in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, you will still likely receive your compensation checks from your employer’s insurance company even though you are working back here in the U.S. Under the DBA, your impairment is actually considered an impairment to your earnings. So, if you earned $4,000/week in Afghanistan and you obtain a job back home here for $600/week, you will still should receive your checks from the insurance company because you still have a wage loss of about $3,400. Insurance companies like when you work. Judges like when you work. You too will feel better. Further, when your case is in the position to settle, you will undergo a vocational assessment with a company hired by the insurance company. It will help the process if you are already working.
3. Do not engage in activities that violate any restrictions placed by your doctor.
Before helping DBA claimants, I was an insurance company attorney. I loved using surveillance video as a tool. I loved it because it was effective. You cannot live your life worrying about being filmed. However, just remember that if you are filmed seriously violating any restrictions, insurance companies are known to stop checks. I have had to spend months on cases having pay reinstated because of video surveillance.
4. Be honest with your DBA attorney.
Your lawyer is your advocate. Your lawyer is on your side. Your lawyer needs to know the good and the bad to prepare your claim properly and to speed up the process. Lawyers don’t like surprises. So, if you have a preexisting injury, tell your lawyer. If you have a subsequent injury, tell your lawyer. If you have been arrested, tell your lawyer. If you got a job, tell your lawyer. Remember, your lawyer is here to help you and it is important that your lawyer knows these things before the insurance company lawyers find out, which they will.
5. Be honest with your doctor.
There are very few circumstances that could cause a suspension of your DBA benefits. Lying to your doctor is one of them. Insurance companies want to have an excuse to cut your off from your benefits. If you lie to your doctor, say about not having previous medical care for your neck in a neck injury claim under the DBA, and the insurance company thereafter obtains a previous medical record or MRI proving that you did indeed have a previous injury, your pay will likely be suspended. Oftentimes, if your overseas job exacerbated your previous injury, you will be entitled to benefits. Judge do not like when claimants lie, so make sure you are upfront with your physician.
For more information about our DBA practice, please call Tim Nies day or night at 877-DBA-LAW1.