Tips for Settling your Defense Base Act Claim
I am a Defense Base Act attorney practicing nationwide and a Veteran of the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. I have been an injury attorney for over 20 years. In any given year, I settle millions in DBA claims alone, before, during, and after DBA mediations. Below you will find 5 tips for settling your Defense Base Act claim.
1. Hire a DBA attorney.
You should hire a DBA claim attorney soon after you are injured. As a private military contractor, you have one year from the date of the injury to file the LS-203 form with the U.S Department of Labor. Further, from the date you are injured, you will be contacted by the DBA insurer. These days Gallagher Bassett and Broadspire handle DBA claims for insurance companies such as Allied World and Starr Indemnity. Trust me, Gallagher Bassett, AIG, Broadspire and other DBA insurers will hire a DBA attorney. You should have one, as well, fighting for you. Having a DBA lawyer communicate with the adjuster or insurance company attorney will take the stress off you so you can concentrate on healing. Hiring a DBA attorney early to make sure the claim is on track, will likely increase settlements at DBA mediations.
2. Obtain a job.
The 2nd tip of the 5 tips for settling your DBA claim is to find a job. Because you were likely a high-wage earner in Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq, Niger, or Afghanistan, you will still likely receive your compensation check from your employer’s insurance company even though you work back here in the U.S. Under the DBA, your impairment is actually considered an impairment, or damage, to your earnings.
So, if you earned $4,000/week in Iraq, and you obtain a job back home here for $600/week, you will still receive your checks from the DBA insurance company because you still have a wage loss of about $3,400. DBA Insurance companies like when you work. Judges like it when you work. You too will feel better. Further, when your case is in the position to settle your DBA claim, you will undergo a vocational assessment with a company hired by the insurance company. It will help the process if you are working.
3. Do not engage in activities that violate any restrictions placed by your doctor.
Before helping DBA claimants, I was an insurance company defense attorney. I know the playbooks of DBA insurance company lawyers. They will use surveillance as a tool to stop payments to injured workers in DBA workers comp claims. I utilized it because it was effective. You cannot live your life worrying about being under surveillance. However, just remember that if you are filmed seriously violating any restrictions, insurance companies are known to stop DBA compensation. I have had to spend months on a few cases fighting for pay to be reinstated because of video surveillance. In one case, a DBA insurance company hired a private investigator who put a GPS tracker on the bottom of my client’s truck and hunting cameras around his home!
4. Be honest with your DBA lawyer.
This is one of the most important of the 5 tips for settling your Defense Base Act claim. Your Defense Base Act lawyer is your advocate. He or she is on your side and fights DBA battles against Gallagher Bassett, Broadspire, Starr Indemnity, Allied World, AIG, and ACE insurance. Your DBA lawyer needs to know the good and the bad to prepare your claim properly and speed up the DBA process. Lawyers don’t like surprises, especially at DBA mediations, depositions, and formal DBA hearings before the OALJ. So, if you have a preexisting injury, tell your Defense Base Act lawyer. This does not mean you will not have a DBA claim. If you have a subsequent injury, tell your lawyer. Arrested? Tell your DBA attorney. If you have a job prospect, great, tell your DBA lawyer. Remember, your lawyer is here to help you and it is important that your lawyer knows these things before the DBA 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. DBA Insurance companies want to have an excuse to cut off your DBA benefits. The 5th tip of the 5 tips for settling your Defense Base Act claim is to be truthful to your doctor. 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 otherwise, your DBA pay will likely be suspended. Oftentimes, if your overseas job exacerbated your previous injury, you will be entitled to benefits. Judges do not like when DBA claimants lie, so make sure you are upfront with your physician.
For more information about our DBA practice, entitlement to DBA compensation and medical care and for free advice on any of these 5 tips for settling your Defense Base Act claim, please call Tim Nies day or night at 877-DBA-LAW1 or visit www.defensebaseactlawyers.com