You have just suffered an accident on the job, and you are a contractor for the U.S. military. Without doubt, you are wondering what to do next. You may not know whether you are covered by workers’ compensation or whether you have to worry about medical bills all on your own.
Well, you should be relieved to know that you are most likely covered by the Defense Base Act, which is a workers’ compensation program set up just for employees who work on U.S. military bases, but are not military personnel themselves.
Accordingly, in this blog, we will discuss, step-by-step what you need to do to ensure that your Defense Base Act claim goes through as smoothly as possible. At RITE law, we have a group of Defense Base Act 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.
If, after reading this article, you have more questions about your personal situation, the Defense Base Act 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.
Step #1 – Report Your Injury
The first thing you need to be sure to do is let your supervisor know that there was an accident, and that you have been injured. Indeed, a report to your supervisor soon after the injury is required under the Defense Base Act. So, when an incident occurs, immediately report it to your supervisor.
It is important to report your injury so you memorialize your Defense Base Act claim. Typically, to alert your supervisor in writing, you should fill out a LS-201 form, titled “Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death,” which officially lets the employer know of the accident and injuries. Your employer should have those forms available to you.
This report will have the effect of setting the Defense Base Act claim process in motion. Notably, your employer is required, under the Defense Base Act, to take certain steps after being made aware of a workplace incident.
Thus, the paper trail of your accident and injury begins with the notice of the injury. You should be aware that information with regard to the type and time of your injury is critical at this stage to preserve your claim and convince the Defense Base Act decision makers (particularly the insurance company) that your injuries justify proper and appropriate compensation.
Step #2 – Seek Medical Attention
After you tell your supervisor, and thus your employer, about the incident and injuries, you then need to get medical attention. You may want to ask your employer for authorization to visit a physician of your choice. Not only will that provide an additional level of comfort for you, but it may in the long-run be helpful because you will be seen by a physician who likely has less connection to the relevant insurance company that will ultimately review your Defense Base Act claim.
Of course, the main reason for getting medical attention is because you simply need medical attention after an accident. But, there are other benefits that flow from making this initial doctor visit for your Defense Base Act claim.
The main tangential benefit is that the doctor’s visit will memorialize your injuries around the time of the accident. Defense Base Act claims may time a while to resolve. Accordingly, it is always good to have documentary evidence of your injury that is close in time to when the injury occurred. Without that evidence, a Defense Base Act claim gets more difficult, because memories fade, and it becomes harder to get an accurate picture of what exact injuries you suffered. Before positions begin to be taken, or issues in the claim arise, you want as accurate a report of what happened as possible.
In sum, accurate, detailed facts available right after the incident occurred will ultimately give you and your attorney a good foundation to make a strong argument for compensation. Moreover, a physician’s visit will allow your physician to make an assessment of whether you are able to return to work, and whether you need ongoing treatment.
Step #3 – Gather All Accident and Medical Records
As noted, a Defense Base Act claim may take a long time to resolve. In order to maximize the compensation owed to you for an injury, it is important to request and keep all relevant reports regarding the incident. Those reports include:
1. Medical Records.
Whether they are physical therapy reports, medication lists, or periodic blood work, your medical records are the key to understanding the benefits you will ultimately need for a full recovery. The Defense Base Act claim attorneys in Jacksonville at RITE law know precisely what types of medical information are required to get certain Defense Base Act benefits. You are, therefore, welcome to contact us at RITE law for additional information.
2. Incident Reports.
Attorneys, insurance claims adjusters and, if necessary, courts will all want to have the most complete timeline possible with respect to your accident and injury. Therefore, the documentation you create yourself, or obtain from your employer, needs to be in your possession and should be all in one place.
You should also have an idea of the narrative that the documents tell. Prosecuting a Defense Base Act claim may require a little emphasis on the impact of an injury, e.g. how it has affected your life. You want to show that you are not just a claim number, but your claim should be understood in a human context.
3. Ongoing Clinical Records.
In addition to medical records, documentation as to your progress from the time of the injury onward is also beneficial. Your eligibility for disability benefits may hinge on whether or not you are responding to ongoing medical treatments.
Therefore, collect all relevant documents of the claim and your injury, and be sure to keep them all in one place. Also, be sure that you give your attorney all of that evidence to maximize the Defense Base Act benefits to which you are entitled. The more information, the better for you and your claim.
Step #4 – Meet those Deadlines
Claims under the Defense Base Act are administered by the Department of Labor. As with any good bureaucracy, the Department of Labor has clear deadlines within which to report your Defense Base Act claim. Most importantly, you as an injured worker have one year from the time of the injury to file your claim with the Department of Labor. If you do not meet that deadline, then you may not be able to pursue your claim at all.
Let RITE Law Help You Make the Strongest Defense Base Act Claim Possible
The RITE Law Defense Base Act 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.