We all want to avoid getting injured on the job. Being out of work, having to worry about making insurance claims, or worse yet, fighting with an insurance company about what is and what is not a compensable injury are the last things with which we want to deal. Moreover, we do not want to be stopped from doing the job we like doing because of an unfortunate accident.
That said, accidents do happen. The silver-lining is that at least when accidents do happen, we have some comfort from the fact that workers’ compensation is set up to compensate the injury appropriately. Workers’ compensation was created, in fact, to protect injured workers and their employers when things do not go right.
At RITE law, we have a group of DBA claim attorneys in Jacksonville who have your best interests at heart, and that have the training and resources to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. In this blog, we are going to cover how workers’ compensation benefits are calculated under the Defense Base Act (DBA)
If, after reading this article, you have more questions about your personal situation, the DBA claim attorneys 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.
The DBA – Workers’ Comp for Civilian Workers on U.S. Military Bases Overseas
Military personnel know that they are covered by the workers’ compensation insurance from the U.S. military. Civilians on U.S. military bases do not have the same coverage, yet the DBA was created to make sure that civilian workers were covered as well in the event of a work-related injury.
Workers’ compensation coverage for the DBA covers injuries that occur while working outside the United States on U.S. military bases, or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or for national defense.
Knowing how disability benefits are calculated is a fundamental question in understanding how workers’ compensation under the DBA functions. If you have been injured and are eligible for workers’ compensation under the DBA (or the Longshore Act), the disability benefit calculation begins with determining your “Average Weekly Wage.”
Normally, you would think that your Average Weekly Wage calculation is relatively simple – just look at a weekly paystub, and in many cases, that may be all that is required. However, in other cases, determining the Average Weekly Wage could be a lot more complex than you think. In fact, there is more than one way to make the Average Weekly Wage calculation because it is based on (i) how you do your work, and (ii) the type of injury you sustained.
Calculating the Average Weekly Wage (AWW)
There are different methods for calculating your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) under the DBA. The first is based on a 5- or 6-day work schedule per week. The second is based on a 7-day work schedule or a casual working schedule.
1. The 5- and 6-day per week schedule.
If you work 5-days, or 6-days, per week on a consistent basis, then the AWW calculation is relatively straightforward. All you do is take your average earnings for the year and divide that number by 52. If you have not worked for a whole year at your position, then the AWW is calculated using the AWW of an employee in the same type of job, and in the same regional location as you. In that circumstance, you arrive at your AWW by first multiplying the similarly-situated worker’s daily wage by 260 for a five-day worker, or 300 for a six-day worker, resulting in annual average earnings. Then, take that annual average and divide by 52 to reach the AWW.
2. The 7-day per week schedule or casual workers.
There are occasions when the formulas above would be unfair to the injured worker. If you were in one of those situations, a determination would be made to arrive at an annual average earning that is reasonable based upon the type of job you have, and the geographic location in which you work. The derived annual average salary would then be divided by 52 to reach the appropriate AWW.
Classification of an Injury Using AWW
Under the DBA, the way your injury is classified impacts the compensation calculation. In particular, compensation relies on whether your injury leaves you totally disabled or partially disabled, and whether the disability is permanent or temporary.
1. Permanent Total Disability.
If you are totally disabled as a result of an injury at work, and you will never be able to return to the work you did prior to the injury, then the compensation will be two-thirds of your AWW for the duration of your disability.
2. Temporary Total Disability.
If you are totally disabled, yet the disability only lasts for a certain amount of time and you will be able to heal and work again, then you would receive two-thirds of your AWW for the duration of your disability.
3. Permanent Partial Disability.
If your injury falls under a specified schedule under the Longshore Act (e.g., loss of arm, or loss of hearing), then your compensation will be determined by that schedule. By way of example, loss of hearing in one ear will result in two-thirds of your AWW paid to you for 52 weeks under the statutory schedule. If, however, your injury does not fall under the schedule, then you will receive compensation while the partial disability persists at the rate of two-thirds of your loss of wages. In other words, you would receive your AWW minus your wage-earning ability after the injury.
4. Temporary Partial Disability.
Your compensation will be based on two-thirds of your loss of wages, i.e., your AWW minus your wage-earning ability after the injury. Your compensation will last for as long as your partial disability persists, but for no longer than five years.
RITE Law Will Help You with Your DBA Claim
The RITE Law DBA claim attorneys in Jacksonville started their 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.