Defense Base Act

Serving the military takes special skills and a firm commitment to the oftentimes tedious, challenging, and even dangerous work that must be performed. Assignments may also take civilian workers and other contracted employees to U.S. military bases across the globe. If a worker employed by the U.S. government is injured or dies in an accident while working in this capacity, they may be eligible for benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA). At Freedman & Lorry, P.C., our dedicated maritime accident lawyers will assist you and your loved ones in recovering the benefits you deserve for injuries incurred while fulfilling your military or contracted duties.

About the Defense Base Act

The Defense Base Act was created in 1941 to provide work injury benefits to civilians employed overseas at U.S. military bases or workers who may be contracted by the government to complete assignments. The DBA is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). It aims to protect employees, which may include foreign nationals, who may become injured or lose their lives while working on a U.S. military base. Compensable injuries include those arising out of and in the course of employment. In some cases, injuries incurred outside of regular job duties or work hours may also be covered.

Criteria Needed to File a Claim

The injured worker must fulfill the necessary criteria to allow a claim to be filed under the Defense Base Act. A knowledgeable offshore injury attorney will weigh the circumstances of the accident and injuries to determine the appropriate course of action. The following employees may be eligible for benefits under the DBA:

  • Those working at a U.S. defense base overseas or for a private employer who is using the land for military purposes
  • Those working abroad on a public works contract involving national defense or military activities that was contracted by a U.S. government agency. Construction or civil engineering projects may be the basis for the work.
  • Those working for the U.S. government overseas on contracts and projects supported and funded by the government. This may include sales of military equipment and other services to U.S. allies as detailed in the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act.
  • Those providing services intended to build morale and support overseas military personnel. For example, this may include individuals working for the USO or similar organizations.

Benefits Provided by DBA

Under the DBA, recipients may be eligible for benefits covering the cost of a variety of injury-related expenses. If the individual suffered a permanent disability or died as a result of the accident, benefits may be paid out to the employee or dependent family members for life. Beneficiaries generally receive approximately two-thirds of their average weekly wage prior to the accident, up to a certain amount. Annuals caps may change according to the economy and fluctuations in wage rates. Benefits may also include compensation for medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation, disability and/or lifetime disability compensation, and death benefits.

The Zone of Special Danger doctrine, established in 1962, provides the same coverage when a worker incurs an injury while off-duty from the job. Although injury circumstances may be more difficult to prove, participation in other activities while stationed overseas for work often counts as facets of the work relationship.

Due to the many legal complexities in filing a claim under the DBA, it is essential to hire an experienced maritime law attorney to help you through the process and ensure a fair outcome.

South Jersey Maritime Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Successfully Handle Claims Under the Defense Base Act

If you were injured in an accident on a military base while working for the U.S. government or other entity associated with the U.S. military, contact a South Jersey maritime lawyer at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. for legal counsel today. Call 888-999-1962 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey to serve clients throughout the surrounding area and South Jersey, including Gloucester, Cape May, and Wildwood. We also have offices in Pinehurst, North Carolina to serve our southern clients.