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

Articles Tagged with DBA claims

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Can you file a Defense Base Act Claim? How to do  you file a DBA Claim in order to receive compensation?

We will give you a general explanation on how you can file a Defense Base Act (DBA) claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how to receive compensation for the injuries you have suffered. Filing a DBA claim can be a long strenuous process that if not done correctly can have a significant impact on your ability to receive the proper care you deserve as well as compensation you are owed. The Federal law requires all U.S. Government contractors and subcontractors to have insurance for their employees working overseas which is designed to protect you and your ability to earn an IMG_9968-e1496774833618-1-225x300 while working overseas for a U.S. contractor/company and which can also provide you with compensation for medical treatment. The first step in filing a Defense Base Act claim is to seek and have proof of medical treatment for any work-related injuries you may have suffered on the job. The injuries you suffered can be physical or mental health injuries or both. Generally, there is a one-year filing deadline to make a claim for benefits after the work-related injury occurred. Filing a DBA claim for PTSD can be more complicated because the symptoms may not arise until after the 1-year deadline has passed. However, PTSD is generally considered an occupational disease which can extend the filing deadline to two-years after knowing of the injury. Here is the form you can use to file your DBA claim. It is called an LS-203.

The importance of seeking medical treatment is both to receive proper treatment for your injury and to validate your claim and injuries with documentation. After receiving treatment, the law requires you to report your injury or injuries to your employer to put them on notice. The form required to file a claim is LS-203 which can be faxed to the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC). When your employer receives notice of your injury, they will notify the Department of Labor which will begin the timeline of events that if not adhered to can bar your right to receive compensation for your injury. Once your claim has been assigned to the Officer of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) you will provide the required documentation, details of your injury and medical diagnosis for your right to receive compensation. The amount of compensation varies from each case’s specific facts and the Claimant’s average weekly wage which we will help you calculate. Your DBA insurance will also compensate you with weekly compensation benefits in the event you’re unable to work. We understand that PTSD is a real mental health problem that will affect your daily life, family, relationships and even your ability to earn an income. Most likely, the insurance company will outright deny your right to receive any medical care which is why it is crucial you seek proper representation. If you were in a war zone and believe you may be suffering from PTSD we urge you seek treatment immediately and to contact us so that we may preserve your rights to file a claim.

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One of the hardest and most difficult times in your work life may be when you are injured overseas. You may not know what to do, how to do it, and who to call. This firm has handled thousands of Defense Base Act cases, from initial client intake, to trial before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), so these are our tips to make your case successful. The days following your initial injury are the most important in how the rest of your claim goes so take the following actions:

  1. soldiers-1002_1280-300x180Report your accident and injuries immediately to your supervisor. Your report should be in writing and should detail ALL body parts injured in the accident. Send an email with a bcc to yourself.
  2. If allowed by company policy, take photos of the area where you were injured, and make certain you take photos of physical injuries if the injury is one that caused bleeding to your body, visible damage to your body or clothing.
  3. Every employer we have dealt with provides medical treatment in each country, be it in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. Make sure you are seen by a base medic and ask for a copy of your medical records which you should keep or photo. If you are not being medically evacuated, and you decide to wait until your next R&R date to treat at home, make sure you see the medic every few days, or as often as needed, and obtain the medical reports. These medical reports will be difficult if not impossible for us to obtain once you leave and return home. The Employers and insurance companies may lose or not be able to find these medical records, which makes proving the seriousness of the injury more difficult if you are not given your medical records.
  4. Related to #3, if possible, do not wait to come home until R&R if your injury is disabling. If you find it difficult to do your job, you should ask to be sent home prior to R&R.
  5. Do not “resign” from your employment– do not sign any forms indicating that you are quitting, resigning or otherwise terminating your employment with your employer. Your employer should send you home on an MLOA– medical leave of absence.
  6. List every injury in your report of injury to your employer. Leaving out an injury in your initial report may cause the insurance company to deny your claim for that part of your body. If you fail to report what is called an “unscheduled” injury, for instance, a psychological injury but you report your knee injury, your case will be negatively impacted. Unscheduled body parts give you special rights to continued compensation payments, which enhance your claim. Unscheduled body parts include the head, neck, low back, middle back, shoulders, and mental injuries.
  7. Contact a qualified attorney as soon as you can. The days following your accident are vital to quickly and efficiently opening your claim.
  8. You are entitled to your own choice of physician under the Defense Base Act. Do not let the insurance carrier pick a doctor for you or suggest a doctor to you.

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We are seeing injuries in Puerto Rico occurring when linemen are restoring power and when workers are doing hurricane repairs or rebuilding. Anyone injured under a contract with an American company should consult with this firm about getting money for those injuries. All consultations are free and there is no charge unless we obtain a settlement.
Generally the insurance company is providing benefits for the linemen or worker once they return home. The lineman or injured worker then sees a local Workers compensation attorney who applies for benefits from the State workers compensation system where they live. Once the worker recovers per the treating doctor and receives a few checks, that is generally the end of the case.
But it should not be. This firm has long held the view that these are Federal Claims that must be filed in the Federal Longshore and Defense Base Act Court system.
The Division has weighed in and confirmed they have jurisdiction.
This firm anticipated this and opened our Puerto Rico office last year to handle these claims.
https://www.joannhoffman.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Image-10-17-18-at-4.15-PM-300x200.jpgWhy does this firm care?
The difference to an injured person on a minor hand injury can be $50,000 in Federal Court versus $15,000 in the State Workers Compensation system for a small injury.
We are well equipped to handle these case with our Main office in South Florida and Our Satellite office in Puerto Rico.
For the Puerto Rico injured workers who came from the United States and received medical care in the States, we need you to know a few things:
You have the right to choose your doctor. Please do not sign a paper saying your choice of doctor is the one the insurance company picked for you. Why? Because we can help you pick a doctor that will help you medically and financially. Why would the insurance company help you pick a doctor that would help them pay more money? Exactly.
What to do now? Perhaps you are reading this and feel you need more information about the financial benefit and time limitation to have us file a DBA claim for you.

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