With insurance in general, we often do not know all the details of our coverage, until something happens. And then we need to know all the details. That is, of course, just as true when it comes to workers’ compensation coverage. If you are in a workplace accident, and you are an employee at a United States military base overseas, then your workers’ compensation comes from the Defense Base Act.  

Accordingly, in this blog we are going to take an opportunity to discuss four benefits come a provided under the Defense Base Act that you may not know about at first blush. Indeed, as noted, we often do not know the particulars of our coverage until we are in a crisis. Yet, even after an accident it might not be obvious to you that you have coverage for certain injuries. Hopefully, this blog will help you know the extent to which your workers’ compensation may go.  

At RITE law, we have a group of DBA claim attorneys in Jacksonville who are dedicated to making sure that you obtain all of the Defense Base Act benefits to which you are entitled. We have your best interests at heart, and we have the training and resources to make sure that you receive appropriate workers’ compensation after an accident. 

If, after reading this article, you have more questions about your personal situation, the Defense Base Act claim law firm in Jacksonville, Florida can help. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so call today.

Defense Base Act Primer

The Defense Base Act does not have an intuitive title, so just in case you need a refresher on exactly what the Defense Base Act is, let us talk about some Defense Base Act basics. 

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act), is a federal government workers’ compensation program that was set up to cover workplace accidents that occur at or around the shores and harbors of the United States. The Longshore Act was a way to protect longshoremen and harbor workers who may suffer workplace accidents.   

Over the years (the Longshore Act was enacted early in the 20th century), the Longshore Act has had “extensions” added on to it. So, there are many types of workplace insurance coverages that fall under the Longshore Act umbrella. One such extension is the Defense Base Act.  

The Defense Base Act has little to do with longshoremen or harbor activities; but, it covers employees who work for private employers on U.S. military bases, or on any lands used by the U.S. for military purposes outside of the U.S., including U.S. territories and possessions.  

Employees covered by the Defense Base Act are non-military personnel. Thus, a clerk, or store manager, of a commissary on a U.S. military base would be someone who would be covered for workers’ compensation insurance under the Defense Base Act.

Generally speaking, the Defense Base Act provides that an injured worker is entitled to receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage while out on disability. The Defense Base Act also allows for annual cost of living and inflation increases when a disabled employee is receiving benefits for permanent and total disability. Also, the Defense Base Act gives the injured employee the right to choose his or her own attending physician.  

Now, let us turn to those four benefits that you may not realize are available under the Defense Base Act.

1. The Defense Base Act Covers Psychological Injuries as well as Physical Injuries.

There are various workers’ compensation packages provided, both private and public, that do not provide any coverage for psychological injuries. Fortunately, that is not the case under the Defense Base Act. Thus, if you suffer a mental health related injury due to a workplace accident, then you can receive benefits from the Defense Base Act.  

Injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression are all covered under the Defense Base Act. In fact, injured employees may be entitled to lost wage and medical benefits as a result of those mental-health conditions.

2. Hearing Loss is Covered.

It can often be difficult to find the real source of a person’s hearing loss. Thus, insurance companies will push back against claims of job-related hearing loss.  

Moreover, hearing loss from workplace noise also takes some time to manifest itself as a symptom of the workplace environment. That delay is also a place in which insurance companies try to undermine such claims.  

Yet, the Defense Base Act will cover hearing-related injuries. That should not be too much of a surprise because military bases can be loud workplaces due to equipment, planes, and other vehicles. So, with work-related hearing loss, the Defense Base Act has you covered.

3. The Defense Base Act Will Cover Mileage When You Drive to the Doctor.

We often do not think about the cost of making many trips to the doctor, the pharmacy, or physical therapy. The Defense Base Act, however, takes that into account. Under the Act, you can claim mileage to and from your doctor’s office, to the pharmacy, and to physical therapy. Indeed, the extra benefit could make a big difference in the amount of spending money you have on any given week.  

4. Foreign Nationals Are Covered.

You may think that a federally created workers’ compensation program would exclude non-U.S. residents and foreign nationals. That, however, is not the case. As long as you are an employee on a U.S. military base, you are covered by the Defense Base Act.  There are U.S. military bases all around the world. Many employees on those bases are local hires. So, under the DBA you are covered. You may need to ask your attorney whether the benefits may be slightly different between U.S. citizens and non-residents, but you are still covered.  

RITE Law: A Defense Base Act Claim Law Firm in Jacksonville

At RITE Law, a Defense Base Act claim law firm in Jacksonville,  we started the firm for one reason – to help those in Florida and elsewhere have the resources of a firm that was big enough to fight but small enough to care. At Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis (RITE law), we have the resources and experience to go to trial when it is necessary, and we have the wisdom to advise you appropriately.  

Without help from the RITE team, making Defense Base Act claims can be very difficult. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure that every detail of your claim is addressed.  Call us for help. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so feel free to call us today.