For civilians suffering from PTSD as a result of their overseas work for the US government, pursuing Defense Base Act PTSD settlements is the best way to get compensated.
Yet, many civilians who worked in war zones aren’t filing their claims.
Proving that your PTSD developed due to exposure to a traumatic event can be challenging and the process of filing a PTSD claim itself is nothing short of tricky
However, tricky and challenging don’t mean impossible. Here’s how civilian contractors can increase the chances of getting their Defense Base Act PTSD settlements.
How to file a PTSD claim
Before you consider filing claims for Defense Base Act PTSD settlements, you need to check if you have the necessary documents which prove your injury or mental health condition.
We recommend hiring an attorney to help you review your medical records; if you’re brave enough, you can do this yourself (even though it will be a lot more taxing). You need to procure the documents that prove:
- You worked on a US military base overseas as a contractor
- Your condition is in direct correlation to your employment on the base
- You have a PTSD diagnosis and you were proposed treatment
- You’re unable to start working again as a result of your mental health condition.
The next order of business for getting Defense Base Act PTSD settlements is filling out the Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death form (LS-201), used to report occupational illness or injury. The information you provide here will be used to determine if you’re entitled to any benefits.
After your LS-201 is ready, you’re going to file the claim with the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC). We recommend uploading your form directly to SEAPortal. You can also send it by mail to the US. Department of Labor if you prefer the old-school approach.
Is there a time limit on filing a claim?
There are no time limits for filing claims to receive Defense Base Act PTSD settlements. Nevertheless, we do recommend you file a claim as soon as possible. That is – as soon as you notice symptoms.
That’s the thing with PTSD. In many cases, symptoms don’t develop right after the traumatic event and can even take years to manifest.
In short, the timeline to present in your claims isn’t based on the traumatic event itself but on establishing a connection between the PTSD symptoms and the event.
You need to prove that you experienced a delayed onset of the disorder.
If you have an attorney, they can make this a lot easier. A legal expert can use your psychiatric examination records to help prove that the mental health problems you’re experiencing are linked to a workplace incident.
What benefits can you receive?
Defense Base Act PTSD settlements fall under the Defense Base Act which provides compensation in the form of disability and medical benefits for civilians working as contractors for the US government. If you get injured or develop a physical or mental illness as a result of your employment and are unable to return to work, you might be eligible to receive benefits.
These benefits will usually provide a percentage of the wages you received before your injury or the traumatic event.
If an employee dies on the job, their surviving family is eligible to receive death benefits.
What is the average value of Defense Base Act PTSD settlements?
When it comes to PTSD, not everyone has the same symptoms. Multiple factors affect the amount you can expect to see in Defense Base Act PTSD settlements.
This is where an attorney can step in to demystify how different aspects and circumstances of your injury or illness affect the worth of your settlements. The worth of Defense Base Act PTSD settlements depends on factors, such as:
- How serious is your condition or an injury?
- Your wage at the time of the injury or the traumatic event
- Medical costs that need to be reimbursed
- The average wages of workers in a related situation
- Mental health expenses, such as psychiatric evaluations and therapy
- Reduced earning capacity that directly correlates to your injury or condition
- Future medical expenses
What can happen after you file your claim?
After you file your claim, an insurance adjuster will get in touch with you or your attorney. Their goal is to get you to accept the smallest and most nominal payout. As a result, they will resort to acting overly compassionate.
However, if your claim gets denied by your employer’s insurance carrier (like a lot of PTSD cases do), you’ll have no other recourse but to start an appeal process.
In short, when the Department of Labor denies claims for Defense Base Act PTSD settlements, the claimants have the legal right to file a notice of appeal.
You can do this within 30 days of receiving the denial letter.
Once your notice of appeal has been filed with the Office of Administrative Judges, you’ll have the opportunity to present your case in front of the judge at a scheduled hearing. If the judge denies your appeal, you’re not out of options yet.
Your next move should be to file a petition for review at the Benefits Review Board where three judges will review your case. After reviewing the record from your hearing, they’ll make a decision. If you get denied once more, you’ll have to take your claim to federal court.
How long does it take to receive your benefits
When you file a claim, the insurance carrier is given 10 days to reach a decision. If the claim gets accepted, you can expect to receive your benefits within a month. If you get denied, you’ll have to wait significantly longer to receive your benefits.
The wheels of justice can be slow, so the whole appeal process might take you upwards of 9 months and even more if you go about it without an attorney.
This brings us to…
How an attorney can help with your settlement
Yes, the entire process can be done successfully without the help of an attorney. However, you’ll either have a harder time defending your rights or you’ll end up with an unreasonable settlement.
If you want to get the most money out of your claim, we strongly recommend hiring legal counsel.
An attorney can help you calculate the right amount of compensation you can receive. More importantly, they can help you connect the dots to prove that you’ve experienced the delayed onset of PTSD using nothing but your documentation.
Next, you won’t have to bother filling the claim yourself and if it gets accepted, your attorney will be able to negotiate a favorable settlement. If your claim gets denied or if the settlement is not as high as it should be, an attorney will fight on your behalf and take your case to trial.
Contact an attorney now!
To avoid getting persuaded to accept a smaller settlement than you deserve, find an attorney with experience in handling Defense Base Act cases.
If you’ve got PTSD and you’re unsure whether it’s worth pursuing a claim for your mental health condition, an attorney will explain the process in and out and embolden you to get the benefits you deserve.
Contact RITE as soon as possible if you need a team of experts who have helped many PTSD victims get the best Defense Base Act PTSD settlements. Call (904) 500-RITE (7483), or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org now!