How DBA Attorneys are Paid
The Defense Base Act (DBA) provides workers’ compensation benefits to employees working overseas on U.S. government contracts. When employees are injured or become ill while performing their job duties abroad, they have the right to seek compensation under the DBA. Note, that in zones of conflict (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc.) workers may be entitled to benefits 24 hours/day. For instance, if they are injured walking to a cafeteria, working out, etc. In such cases, the involvement of DBA attorneys specializing in Defense Base Act claims is crucial to help injured contractors navigate the complex DBA process. One common question that arises is how DBA attorneys are paid when representing injured contractors in Defense Base Act claim. This article aims to shed light on the various methods by which attorneys in DBA claims receive payment.
DBA attorneys representing clients in DBA claims work on an hourly fee basis. DBA lawyer representing the injured contractor bills the client for the time spent working on the case. This includes tasks such as researching, preparing legal documents, communicating with the client, communicating with doctors, attending vocational evaluations, reviewing surveillance, reviewing FCEs, taking depositions, attending DBA informal conferences, negotiating with the insurance company, attending DBA mediations, and representing the client at the Office of Administrative Law Judge (OALJ), if necessary.
Type of Fee:
Attorneys handling DBA claims work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means that the attorney’s payment is contingent upon the successful outcome of the DBA claim. If the attorney successfully obtains a benefit for the injured worker, they are entitled to their attorney’s fees and costs from the DBA insurance company.
Fee Approval Process:
When an attorney works on a DBA claim, their fee is subject to approval by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). The OWCP oversees the administration of DBA claims and ensures that attorney fees are reasonable and in accordance with the law. The fee approval process involves the DBA attorney submitting a fee petition, which outlines the services rendered, the hours worked, and the fee requested.
The OWCP reviews the fee petition and makes a determination regarding the reasonableness of the fee. This process helps protect injured workers from excessive or unjustified attorney fees. No attorney is permitted to accept a fee without approval. Therefore, injured workers should never pay the attorney directly. For DBA claims that settle, for instance at mediation, the DBA attorney and the attorney for the employer and DBA insurance company will typically agree on the payment for attorney’s fees and costs that the DBA insurance company will pay directly to the DBA lawyer representing the injured worker.
Expenses and Reimbursements:
Apart from DBA attorney fees, additional expenses related to the case may be incurred. These expenses can include medical records requests, expert witness fees, and deposition transcript fees, among others. DBA Attorneys often cover these expenses upfront and later seek reimbursement from the DBA insurance carrier. Again, a fee petition needs to be approved by the OWCP or in some situations the OALJ if the matter is up at the OALJ level. Again, your DBA lawyer should not seek expenses from you directly.
DBA attorneys specializing in DBA claims play a vital role in helping injured workers receive the compensation they deserve. DBA attorneys must adhere to the fee approval process established by the OWCP to ensure fairness and reasonable compensation.
For more information, contact DBA attorney, Tim Nies, at 772-283-8712. Tim is an Army Ranger veteran and has been practicing law since 2001. Tim is known for going to battle for his injured clients. Call Tim day or night for a completely free consultation or contact us here.
For additional information, visit our DBA Youtube site: DBA Lawyer.