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Defense Base Act

If you are or a loved one is a civilian who was injured while working for a company that performs overseas operations for the U.S. Department of Defense, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA). Coverage extends to injuries caused by a broad range of accidents including construction accidents, rocket-propelled grenade attacks, roof and building falls, forklift accidents, power tool injuries, explosions, fires, and electrocutions. An experienced Defense Base Act attorney can advise you as to whether you are entitled to compensation and medical benefits, and help you through the process of obtaining relief.  Our attorneys are available to assist you 24 hours a day 7 days a week in order to speak with you regarding your potential Defense Base Act claim. Contact us for a free consultation.

The Defense Base Act (42 U.S. Code § 1651) gives civilian employees workers’ compensation protection when they work (1) on United States military bases outside the country or (2) under a contract with our government for public works or national defense. Workers covered by the DBA may be entitled to weekly compensation while unable to work, as well as compensation for reasonable and necessary medical care, and compensation for a permanent disability that was caused, aggravated or accelerated by the work. The spouse and minor children of a worker who is killed on the job are also entitled to benefits under the DBA.

Who is Covered by the Defense Base Act?

Congress initially adopted the DBA in 1941 in order to cover workers stationed on military bases outside the United States, all over the world. It was an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. A number of subsequent amendments increased the DBA’s protections, such that it now covers the employees of civilian contractors who complete or further missions that were historically the responsibility of the military.

If you are in any of the following categories working outside the United States, you are likely covered by the DBA:
  • You work for private entities on U.S. military bases or lands used by our government for military purposes;
  • You work on public work contracts with any U.S. government agency, including contracts related to national defense or war operations;
  • You work on Foreign Assistance Act contracts approved and funded by the U.S. government;
  • You work for U.S. employers providing welfare or related services for the benefit of the military;
  • You work for a subcontractor on a contract for any of the above projects;
  • You are employed by an American contractor performing public works at a military base in a U.S. territory outside the continent in support of military assistance programs within allied nations;
  • You are employed by a welfare and morale project.
Some of the companies that hire civilian employees to perform operations for the U.S. Department of Defense are:
  • Blackwater
  • Halliburton
  • Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR)
  • Bechtel
  • Dyncorp
  • CACI
  • Service Employees International
  • Fluor
  • AECOM
  • Global Linguist Solutions
  • DRS Technologies
  • Triple Canopy
  • SCI
The DBA requires contractors to procure insurance similar to workers’ compensation insurance to pay out benefits in the event of employee injury. Contractors must also purchase a separate, additional DBA insurance policy in connection with defense contracts.

The DBA does not cover only United States workers. Workers from foreign countries who are hired by United States contractors may also receive benefits under the Defense Base Act regardless of country of origin. These countries include Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Sudan, Uganda, South Africa and Korea.

Defense Base Act Insurance

Insurance companies increasingly try to deny benefits or pay out valid Defense Base Act claims at a rate lower than entitled to by the worker. Sometimes employers are reluctant or slow to report injuries. This delays claims processing, as well as payments to injured or disabled workers. When the insurance company accepts and pays a claim promptly, injured workers may not realize that they were actually owed more, leading to gross underpayment of the claim.

We Are Able to Assist You — Whenever You Need Help

An accident can happen when you least expect it but you can call our lawyers for help any time of day, any day of the week. Whether you speak English, Español, Français, Créole or Português, our attorneys are dedicated to helping you understand every step of your case.

We urge you to contact us by calling 305-448-8585 or toll free at 877-448-8585 or contacting us online. We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Call our experienced lawyers for a free case evaluation.

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