This January, an Administrative Law Judge approved a settlement reached by Javier Ruiz, Esq. relating to home modifications needed by a client (pictured below with his consent) in a Defense Base Act (DBA) case. The case involved litigation of complex legal issues requiring expert testimony as to the modifications needed to the client’s home. For instance, a wheelchair bound injured worker will need lower light switches, doors widened, ramps created, and lower sinks.
To accomplish these necessary modifications, this firm took the depositions of engineers and accessibility experts who testified as to the necessity and cost of home modifications. Mr. Ruiz travels the country in his pursuit of justice and fairness for our clients. Attorneys Jo Ann Hoffman & Associates are proud to be able to help injured workers like this who are often ignored by insurance companies.
Multitude of Benefits Available Under the Defense Base Act/Longshore Act
Do you know the types of benefits available to you if you are injured in an accident covered by the Defense Base Act/Longshore Act? Broadly speaking, there are two types of benefits available under the DBA: 1) compensation benefits and 2) medical benefits. Home modification falls under medical benefits.
Many injured workers incorrectly assume that medical benefits simply means doctors visits, surgeries, medication, and physical therapy. Fortunately, the definition of medical benefits under Section 907 of the Act is very broad, so broad that it not only includes purely medical benefits like doctors visits, surgeries, medication, and physical therapy, but the definition also includes medically necessary and reasonable apparatus.
Section 907(a) states: “The employer shall furnish such medical, surgical, and other attendance or treatment, nurse and hospital service, medicine, crutches, and apparatus, for such period as the nature of the injury or the process of recovery may require. ”
What does this mean? It means you may be entitled to a new handicapped accessible vehicle if your injuries require it. If you are presently living in an inaccessible home, the insurance carrier can be compelled to purchase you a new home or make your current home accessible. These benefits must be provided for life since Section 907 medical benefits never expire (unless you settle your claim for a lump sum). Other Section 907 medical benefits include the provision of assistance pets, home health aides to help with activities of daily living, and artificial limbs, which cost tens of thousands of dollars. For case examples, please reference the OALJ decision in Kahue and Shriver. Also, a win on home modification, allows us to have our attorneys fees and costs paid by the carrier. This is always a benefit to the injured worker and we are proud to accomplish this.
If you or anyone you know has been injured overseas working for a contractor, we would be happy to speak with them. Please text or give our firm a call at 954-772-2644. We proudly serve clients across the United States and all over the world! Helping the injured is our passion.