To obtain a large settlement under the Defense Base Act, it is easiest to start by receiving medical benefits under the Defense Base Act.
First, 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. From years of dealing with doctors we know they have set ways of dealing with issues and some doctors are more sympathetic to injured people than others.
It is important that you get the best medical care and have a doctor who will work with you when it comes time to assign working restrictions and a permanent impairment.
Larger settlements result where there is an injury to the spine and/or shoulders and other ‘unscheduled’ body parts, as opposed to ‘scheduled’ body parts, such as an elbow, wrist, hand, leg, knee, ankle, or foot.
So the situation is that if you have a 10% impairment to an extremity say your leg because you had a knee injury then you only receive a scheduled award of money equal to your compensation rate times 28.8 weeks for that permanent impairment to the knee. You receive 28.8 weeks simply because your impairment was 10 percent of the leg and that 10% is multiplied by 288 weeks which is amount of weeks for the entire leg. The schedules are set forth by the Longshore Division. Feel free to email Attorneys Jo Ann Hoffman at email@example.com if you need the schedule for another body part. You can receive money for the scheduled injury even if you are back to work.
However assume that both the knee and low back were injured, then your compensation can continue past the 28.8 weeks of compensation you receive for the impairment to the knee. In fact, your wage loss is calculated into the future and payable to you if you earn less than your pre injury wage. So to the extent you are receiving lost wages and the exposure continues in the future to pay you compensation, the insurance company will give you a larger settlement where you are earning less than your pre injury wage.