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A Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation and Defense Base Act Law Firm Fighting for the Injured.

Articles Posted in Longshore and DBA claims

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To obtain a large settlement under the Defense Base Act, it is easiest to start by receiving medical benefits under the Defense Base Act.

IMG_9968-e1496774833618-225x300First, file a LS-203 which is essentially your claim for compensation benefits from your Employer and their insurance carrier. Then, once the employer turns in the notice to the insurance company, you will be set up with medical care. Give the doctor an accurate but brief description of your injury. Virtually all injuries abroad are compensable as you must be duty fit. So whether you are hurt because you fall in the shower, sprain your back while working out or twist your ankle walking,  you are entitled to medical care. Initially, it will be provided on the base in country, and then at home when you return home.
Next: You Choose Your Doctor
You have the absolute right to choose your treating doctor. NEVER let the insurance carrier pick a doctor for you.  We like to help you choose a doctor who will be favorable for your case. Continue reading →

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How long does an injured longshoreman or civilian contractor have to file a claim under the Longshore or Defense Base Act? The answer, in most instances, is one (1) year from the date of the injury.

What happens if you are paid compensation and your employer terminates the payments? You should likely retain a qualified attorney immediately. But with respect to the statute of limitations, if your employer voluntarily pays compensation benefits  and then terminates those payments, you will then have one (1)  year from the time that your employer terminates compensation benefits for you to file a claim for additional compensation benefits.

If your claim is due to what is referred to in the act as an “occupational disease”, like hearing loss or  exposure to harmful chemicals, you have two (2) years to file your claim. The time does not start until  you first become aware of the relationship between the occupational disease, your disability, and your employment. An occupational disease is  an illness or medical condition which develops as a result of exposure to harmful conditions or substances in the workplace. With occupational injuries, the insurance companies love to litigate against injured workers over when the disease manifested itself, and when the employee became aware of the link between the disease and his or her employment. Often,  the diseases or conditions as a result of exposure does not  manifest itself for years or decades, and not until you have retired or left a particular employer. It is therefore important to retain a qualified attorney to represent you as you navigate the intricacies of the Longshore and Defense Base Act.

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DeathThere are over 100,000 contractors abroad helping our troops and our national security in countries all over the world. In Afghanistan, our contractors outnumber our troops by 3 to 1 ratio and 70% of our contractors are foreign nationals. Multiple jobs are available in Iraq at www.civiliancontractorjobs.com

We have peacekeeping personnel all over Africa, some supporting the Eastern Accord and as well as other missions.

Given that our workers are stationed in diverse and underdeveloped locales, serious injuries including death can occur with less than optimum treatment.

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hearing-protection-1532036Hearing loss under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, as extended by the Defense Base Act, is compensated under Section 8(c)(13) as a scheduled injury, resulting in a scheduled award. It is a traumatic injury in that the harm occurs immediately upon exposure.

Hearing loss is determined by the use of a professional audiologist who will perform an audiogram. The audiogram will show the percentage loss of hearing in each ear, and that can then be used to determine your overall hearing loss.

There are two types of hearing loss under Section 8(c)(13). The first is monaural hearing loss, which simply means a loss of hearing in one ear. A 100% loss of hearing in one ear results in 52 weeks of compensation at the appropriate compensation rate. For example, if you have a 30% loss of hearing in one ear only, you will be paid for 15.6 weeks of compensation at the appropriate compensation rate(30% of 52 weeks).

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DeathThere are over 100,000 contractors abroad helping our troops and our national security in countries all over the world. In Afghanistan, our contractors outnumber our troops by 3 to 1 ratio and 70% of our contractors are foreign nationals. Multiple jobs are available in Iraq at www.civiliancontractorjobs.com

We have peacekeeping personnel all over Africa, some supporting the Eastern Accord and as well as other missions.

Given that our workers are stationed in diverse and underdeveloped locales, serious injuries including death can occur with less than optimum treatment.

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I just returned from London, England where I had my client sign her release.  There was a notary requirement on the original release, but in London, a notary charges £100 pounds, which is equivalent today to $130.00.

To save my client that money, we spoke with the supervisor at the insurance company and received approval for her signature to be witnessed by two people in London, which was done instead of having a notary.  This saved the client $130.00 and we did not charge the client for our travel expenses, as we frequently do business in London.IMG_3377

We receive calls from all over the United States from people injured while providing services to our troops stationed throughout the world.  Their injuries are covered under the Defense Base Act, which is a Federal Statute, providing workers compensation benefits.

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What happens in your Longshore or Defense Base Act (DBA) claim if you re-injure yourself working for a different employer after your initial accident?

The answer, like many legal questions, is “it depends.” If a Claimant’s disability results from the natural progression of a prior injury and would have occurred notwithstanding a subsequent injury, the prior injury is a compensable injury and the Claimant’s employer at the time of the prior injury is responsible. This was the holding in Wallace v. Cerris Marine Terminals. Consequently, if the subsequent injury is one that was natural and unavoidable as a result of your initial injury, the initial employer will be paying your benefits under the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and/or the Defense Base Act. If, however, the subsequent injury aggravates, accelerates or combines with the earlier injury to result in the Claimant’s disability, the subsequent injury is a compensable injury and the subsequent employer is responsible. This is what is commonly referred to as the “Aggravation Rule”, and it can cause numerous problems in obtaining benefits under the Longshore Act.

If you suffer an injury with one employer and begin working with another covered employer, the insurance carrier for the initial employer may thereafter stop benefits if they have reason to believe that you have aggravated your injury with the new employer. If the insurance ceases paying benefits based on this Aggravation Rule, the insurance carrier for your new employer will have to be notified of this claim, and a determination of which carrier is responsible will ultimately be made by an Administrative Law Judge. Continue reading →

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If you are a longshoreman, or are covered under the Defense Base Act (DBA) extension, and are injured on the job, you will be entitled to compensation for missed time from work (lost wages) due to your injuries. The Longshore compensation system is based off of your earnings for the fifty-two (52) weeks of earnings prior to your accident. Different rules apply to five (5) day and six (6) day workers. It is very important to reach an accurate calculation of your average weekly wage, as this will determine the amount of your disability benefits.

There are four (4) types of disability for which a longshoreman can be paid for lost wages under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) (as well as the extensions under the Defense Base Act):

1. Permanent total disability: A claimant establishes a case of permanent total disability when he demonstrates that the injuries or illness prevent him from returning to his prior job. At that point, the claimant has established a prima facie case, and the burden shifts to the employer to prove suitable alternate employment. Suitable alternate employment means any employment that the employee, given his age, education, background, restrictions and limitations could secure, if he diligently tried. The employer must point to actual, not theoretical, jobs to establish suitable alternate employment. If such suitable alternate employment is proved by the employer, then the claimant’s disability is characterized as a permanent partial disability. Compensation is then calculated as two-thirds of the difference between the claimant’s pre-injury average weekly wage versus his post-accident average weekly wage in the suitable alternate employment.

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Ammunition offloadIt is vitally important to calculate the average weekly wage (AWW) following an on the job injury in a Defense Base Act (DBA) claim.  It is of utmost importance that the AWW be calculated correctly, because the AWW controls how much money you will receive from the insurance carrier following an accident. Moreover, the AWW can significantly impact the value of any settlement received in a DBA claim.

Section 10 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides three methods of calculating the AWW.  Section 10(a) deals with five day a week workers, and Section 10(b) deals with six day a week workers. As most overseas workers are logging in seven day a week work schedules, we will not address those two sections here. However, the Act provides a third method of calculating the AWW, found in Section 10(c):

“If either [subsection 10(a) or 10(b)] cannot reasonably and fairly be applied, such average annual earnings shall be such sum as, having regard to the previous earnings of the injured employee and the employment in which he was working at the time of his injury, and of other employees of the same or most similar class working in the same or most similar employment in the same or neighboring locality, or other employment of such employee, including the reasonable value of the services of the employee if engaged in self-employment, shall reasonably represent the annual earning capacity of the injured employee.” Continue reading →

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