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Defense Base Act Lawyers   
   
                                                                

Compensation Under the Defense Base Act

"We go to battle for you..."

Van Riper & Nies, a veteran-owned law firm, combines proactive litigation, experience, skill and compassion to bring a unique perspective as we fight for their clients rights under the Defense Base Act.

Compensation under the Defense Base Act:

Our lead Defense Base Act Attorney, Timothy Nies, a former Ranger with the U.S. Army's elite 75th Range Regiment, is skilled and experienced in making sure that compensation to his clients is paid fairly and accurately by insurance companies who profit heavily from providing Defense Base Act insurance.

Under the Defense Base Act, if a covered contractor is injured, there is a 3 day waiting period before benefits are paid. After the 3 day waiting period, if an injury is serious enough to prevent the contractor from returning to work, his or her employer (or the employer’s insurer) is obligated to pay compensation to the injured contractor. The amount of compensation paid is usually calculated by taking a contactor’s wages, including overtime, during the 52 weeks prior to the contractor’s injury date and dividing that figure by 52. This figure is the average weekly wage or AWW.
The rate of compensation payments to the contractor is two-thirds of the average weekly wage, subject to a maximum amount which adjusted upwards every October 1. For temporary total disability (TTD), the maximum compensation rate (CR) at the current time is $1,256.84. The minimum compensation rate, which usually never applies to contractors is $314.21.

Under Section 10 of the Defense Base Act, compensation is based on the average weekly wage and is calculated as follows:

  • (a) earnings divided by the days worked x 300/260
  • (b) same as a similarly situated employee
  • (c) "reasonable" estimate of earning capacity at the time of the injury.

If the contractor has worked in the same job for the whole 52 weeks, calculating the AWW under Section (a) above is easy. If the contractor has not worked for “substantially the whole year” in the same type of employment, other methods may be used to determine the correct AWW. One method, although rarely used nor agreed to by the insurance companies, is to use Section (b) above, a similar contractor’s wages.

If the AWW calculations set forth in Sections (a) or (b) above cannot be fairly applied, there are several alternatives, such as taking a daily wage and multiplying it by the number of days per week ordinarily worked. Insurance companies usually factor in lower wages earned stateside if the contractor worked part of the 52 weeks in the same type of employment overseas. This improperly skews the AWW. Our attorneys have been successful in every instance in persuading the DOL claims examiners and the insurance companies that stateside wages cannot be taken into consideration when determining an average weekly wage. In one particular case, our client, for 8 months was training at a military base in the U.S., so that he may do his very specialized job in Iraq where he worked hand in hand with the U.S. Army. He was injured in a MRAP rollover about a month after arriving in Iraq.  Of course, his wages in the U.S. for the 8 months were much lower than when he worked in Iraq. We successfully argued that the much lower wages could not be used when calculating his AWW and that only the wages earned in Iraq were to be used. The DOL agreed and our client was paid his back due wages at the correct AWW.

As briefly mentioned above, once the average weekly wage is correctly determined, this figure is multiplied by two-thirds and this figure, the compensation rate is the amount of money the injured contractor receives for each week they are disabled. Usually the DBA insurers pay every two weeks, oftentimes by direct deposit. Once the compensation rate (CR) for “total disability” is determined, it never changes and there are no increases for cost of living or inflation. So, if you earn the maximum compensation rate now of $1,256.84, it will be $1,256.84 10 years from now.

Most injured contractors do not understand that even if they secure a job back here in the U.S. within their medical restrictions, oftentimes, they are still entitled to the full compensation rate. For example, if John, a military contractor, earned $4,000 per week while working in the Iraq or Afghanistan war zone, he will be paid the maximum compensation rate of $1,256.84 in disability for an unscheduled injury (usually neck, back, shoulder, brain, hip injuries – scheduled injuries are discussed below). John found a job working at the information desk at a VA hospital where he earned $500 per week. The difference between the $4,000 he earned in Afghanistan and his $500 per week VA desk job is $3,500. This amount is still more than the $1,256.84 maximum compensation rate. Therefore, John will be entitled to his $1,256.84 weekly compensation payment while receiving his $500 weekly pay from the VA. Oftentimes the DBA insurance companies stop compensation as soon as a contractor gets a job. We go to battle with the insurance companies on behalf of our contractors and have been successful in each instance.

Scheduled Injuries:

There are certain injuries subject to a scheduled award. For example, an injured worker with an arm injury who is at maximum medical improvement (MMI) with a 10% permanent impairment rating (and work is available for the contractor) is entitled to a scheduled award, but no further disability benefits unless there is a change in condition.  However, a person with a neck injury at MMI would still be entitled to total disability benefits if they can prove they made a thorough but unsuccessful attempt to find suitable work. This is normally a litigated issue for which we represent contractors. See a list of scheduled injuries below (see also 33 U.S.C.§ 908).

Compensation for scheduled total loss of use of different body parts is as follows:

 

Hand

244 weeks

Arm

312 weeks

 Foot

205 weeks

Leg

288 weeks

Eye

160 weeks

Thumb

75 weeks

Index Finger

46 weeks

Middle Finger

30 weeks

Ring Finger

15 weeks

Little Finger

15 weeks

Great Toe

38 weeks

Other Toes

16 weeks

Hearing Loss-Both Ears

200 weeks

Hearing Loss-One Ear

52 weeks

Disfigurement

$7,500.00

 

Death Benefits:


If a contractor dies as a result of an injury or occupational disease, death benefits are paid to the widow, or widower, and other eligible survivors as well as funeral expenses to a maximum of $3,000.00. The widow, or widower, would receive 50% of the deceased employee's average weekly wage for life. If, however, if the person remarried, that person would be paid a lump sum of two years of benefits. In addition, if there are surviving children, additional benefits would be paid for each minor child at the rate of 16 2/3% of the average weekly wage, subject to a maximum limit.

For more information about our firm, please contact Timothy Nies directly at 772-283-8712, email him at tim@vanriperandnies.com or complete the confidential form below.  We are available day and night.

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The hiring of an attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.  Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.

 

The Defense Base Act (DBA) Lawyers at our law firm help contractors injured in Afghanistan or Iraq while working for an employer under a contract with the U.S. Government. Our lawyers make sure that the AWW is calculated correctly. Our workers compensation attorneys help claimants throughout Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Our workers compensation attorney make sure that our clients are paid compensation pursuant to the DBA and that the DBA insurance companies have correctly determined the average weekly wage (AWW).  Compensation for Iraq war injuries.

 

Our DBA attorney, Timothy C. Nies, is a Disabled American Veteran, who injured his knee on a parachute mission with the 75th Ranger Regiment. As a military veteran injured in the line of duty, he knows what it takes to sustain a life-changing injury. Our workers comp attorneys are experienced in Defense Base Act Litigation before the DOL.  The trial attorneys at our law firm represent U.S., and foreign contractors, injured in foreign countries,  such as Iraq and Afghanistan, under a contract with the United States. Defense Base Act lawyers in FL experienced in ensuring that military contractors are paid fairly. Our workers comp lawyers assist those injured overseas, including civilians working in the Middle East and those working at military bases and for the U.S. Government overseas. Our law firm routinely handles cases for injured contractors who live in Stuart, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach and Jacksonville, Florida. 
 

Our injury lawyers correctly calculate the Average Weekly Wage. We often find that the insurance companies have not correctly calculated these wages pursuant to the Defense Base Act.  Our work comp lawyers help all defense contractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, but permanently live in the U.S. The personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at our law office provide representation before the Department of Labor (DOL) for those contractors, including truck drivers, security personnel, cooks, mechanics, etc. working in Iraq, but permanently living in Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Lantana, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Jupiter, North Palm Beach, Orlando or Tampa, FL.  Our workers compensation attorneys are experienced in representing U.S. contractors for companies in Iraq and Afghanistan, such as ITT, DynCorp, KBR, Blackwater (now Xe).  The workers compensation lawyers at our law firm are skilled in advocating for the correct calculation of wages under the DBA. Our work comp attorneys will make sure you get the compensation you deserve and that  your average weekly wage, AWW, is calculated correctly. Average weekly wage calculator.

 

Our lawyers, skilled in litigating Defense Base Act claims before the DOL, assist clients in Tampa, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Pompano Beach, Stuart, Naples, Gainesville, Miami Lakes, Aventura, South Miami, and Orlando, FL. The attorneys and paralegals at our firm help contractors living in Key West, Clewiston, Pembroke Pines, Wellington, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Sunrise, FL.  What is a scheduled injury is a typical question we receive of our contractor clients. Our lawyers take the time to explain the process, no matter how long it takes. Our lawyers represent clients in all DBA cases. Compensation under the Defense Base Act. Defense Base Act Attorney Tim Nies Linked In. Lawyer to represent contrators at DOL hearings. Call for a free consultation on the claim procedures.

 

If you live in Alabama and have been injured working under a U.S. contract for work in Afghanistan or Iraq and live in Auburn, Decatur, Dothan or Hoover, AL, our attorneys can help you.  Our defense base act lawyers help Alabama based workers who live in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Mobile, Huntsville Park, or Montgomery, AL. Our attorneys represent Defense Base Act contractors in Birmingham, AL. Our DBA workers compensation attorneys can help make sure you receive the Defense Base Act benefits, including monetary compensation, you deserve.  If you have been injured overseas, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or Puerto Rico while working for the United States Government under a contract, including civilians working for companies such as KBR, Haliburten, SOC-SMG, or Blackstone, and live in Georgia or North Carolina, including  Raleigh, NC, our attorneys can represent you before the U.S. Department of Labor, Longshore Division.  Our DBA attorneys also represent North Carolina clients in Wilmington, High Point, Cary, Fayetteville, Winston-Salem, Durham, Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, NC.  If you have been injured in any of the camps in Iraq, such as Camp Gibson, or in Afghanistan and live in Tennessee, including Johnson City, Jackson, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga or Knoxville, TN, our workers’ compensation lawyers, experienced with handling DBA claims, can assist you in making sure you receive the correct compensation you are entitled to under the law.  Our DBA attorneys represent clients in New South Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, TN. DBA attorney Timothy Nies.

 

Our Defense Base Act Law firm assists clients who live in Florida, FL, Georgia, GA, South Carolina, SC, North Carolina NC, Kentucky, KY, Tennessee, TN, New . In Florida, our workers compensation DBA attorneys represent clients in Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Miami, Pompano Beach, Tallahassee, Hollywood, and Pembroke Pines. Our attorneys work hard to make sure that our private military contractors in Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Hialeah, FL are paid the correct disability benefits under the Defense Base Act.  We also represent our Florida clients in DBA claims living in Saint Petersburg, Tampa, Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville, FL.  The DBA attorneys at our firm represent injured contractors in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky.

 

Our Defense Base Act lawyers work hard to make sure our contractor/clients get the compensation they are entitled to pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, as extended by the Defense Base Act. Our workers compensation lawyers represent workers covered by the U.S. Defense Base Act throughout the United States.  Attorney Timothy Nies, a former Army Airborne Ranger, will work hard to make sure his clientst receive the medical care, replacement of lost wages, determination of average weekly wage, and other benefits quickly. Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, approved by the Pentagon, include L-3 Communications, Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) and SEII.  Other military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan include IPBD, SOC-SMG, Gulf Catering Co, ECC, Haliburton, MPRI, SEII, Service Employers International and Xi, formerly Blackwater. American International Group (AIG), now known as Chartis, handles approximately a large majority of claims for contract workers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our attorneys work hard to make sure that the employers and the DBA insurance companies, usually Chartis or CNA pay our contractors the correct average weekly wage (AWW) and compensation rate (CR). West Palm Beach workers' compensation DBA attorney. West Palm Beach FL Defense Base Act attorneys. Litigation of Longshore claims - DBA.

 

Monetary compensation for injured private military contractors injured in Iraq. Our attorneys represent civilian workers hired by U.S. companies to work on projects overseas throughout the world.  In Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle East countries, many civilian workers are employed in Iraq and Afghanistan and also provide support to the United States military troops in these countries.  Companies such as SOC-SMG, Xe, Halliburton, Bechtel, KBR, Dyncorp and others have contracts with the United States of America to provide services and therefore employ drivers, truckers, mechanics, small engine mechanics, construction workers, security personnel, instructors, and others.  The Defense Base Act attorneys at our law firm help workers who assist in the Afghanistan Police Program (APP) and Poppy Eradication Force (PEF) through the Afghanistan Civilian Advisory Support (ACAS), which requires work in very hazardous conditions in very dangerous places. How to obtain compensation for injuries sustained while working under a government contract in Iraq or Afghanistan is a typical question we receive. Our Defense Base Act lawyers take the time to answer each and every question our clients need answered. That is our job. We are a Defense Base Act law firm experienced in representing injured military contractors or families of private military contractors killed in Afghanistan or Iraq.Van Riper Nies Defense Base Act - Facebook.


Our Defense Base Act law firm helps contractors in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world employed as a mechanic, security guard, construction worker, CIVPOL support, maintenance training in Oman, linguists, and helicopter pilots. In addition, our Defense Base Act firm will represent medical doctors pilots, doctors, engineers, mechanics, maritime prepositioning force (MPF), maintenance and support personnel, Security Guard Force Personnel in Defense Base Act claims. Our injury attorneys can also represent clients in Sudan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Korea, Peru, Columbia, Pakistan, Jalalabad, Afghanistan and other Countries. Our Defense Base Act law firm represents contractors hired to perform drug programs for the United States State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Our federal workers comp lawyers help American contractors employed overseas as aircraft mechanics, truck drivers, linguists, contracts manager, security officers, police, intelligence officers, engineers, oil field workers, medics, electrical engineers, bobtails, EMTs, paramedics, nurses and more.  Our Defense Base Act and Longshore lawyers represent contractors injured by electrocutions, IED attacks, falls from Hesco barriers, accidental weapon discharges, insurgent attacks and for injuries to contractors sustained by the negligence of other contractors. Port St. Lucie FL Defense Base Act Lawyers. Afghanistan war injury lawyers.

 

Our Defense Base Act law firm is skilled in determining the correct AWW and compensation rate. We help workers around the world with determining the correct compensation rate and disability pay. Our workers comp lawyers fight hard to make sure that workers hired to build U.S. embassies and other U.S. government buildings in foreign countries, including England, France, Australia, Peru and Canada are paid compensation benefits when injured while working under an American Government contract, receive the correct and fair compensation for their injuries under the Defense Base Act. Our workers comp attorneys, experienced with DBA claims, work hard to make sure that the DBA insurance companies pay the correct compensation rate, based on a correct AWW.  Our Defense Base Act lawyers assist employees of KBR, Halliburton, Blackwater, SOC-SMG, SEII and others who have been injured overseas and are owed compensation and medical benefits under the Defense Base Act for construction injuries, truck accidents, car accidents, RPG attacks, chlorine bombs, explosions, sniper fire, slip and falls, power tool injuries, assaults, explosions, fires, fights, and more unusual injuries, such as exposure to Hepatitis-C, HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases. Our workmens compensation lawyers also help with repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and back and neck injuries, such as herniated disks. If you work for Halliburton, KBR, Blackstone, Custer Battles, Defensecurity, Northbridge Security Group, L3, Titan, Triple Canopy, Inc., Vinnell Corporation, Xe and others.  DBA compensation for injuries sustained in Iraq. Xe Services LLC injury claims.

 

Our Defense Base Act law firms represents civilian contractors in all states, and assist them with their work injury Defense Base Act claim for compensation, including, Florida, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee (TN), South Carolina (SC), Virginia (VA),  New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ), Ohio (OH), California, Texas, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, Alabama, and all other states. Consultations with our DBA lawyers are free and clients do not pay a fee unless successful. In fact, in most successful case, employers must pay the attorneys fee for claimant (contractors).  From our law office in Jacksonville, FL Boca Raton, FL and Clewiston, FL we help injured contractors worldwide.

 

Section 1 under the Defense Base Act, which falls under the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act:  Compensation Authorized

(a) Places of employment.

Except as herein modified the provisions of the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act as amended, shall apply in respect to the injury or death of any employee engaged in any employment—

1.     At any military, air, or naval base acquired after January 1, 1940, by the United States from any foreign government; or

2.     Upon any lands occupied or used by the United States for military or naval purposes in any Territory or possession outside the continental United States (including the United States Naval Operating Base, Guantanamo Bay. Cuba; and the Canal Zone; or

3.     Upon any public work in any Territory or possession outside the continental United States (including the United States Naval Operating Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and the Canal Zone), if such employee is engaged in employment at such place under the contract of a contractor (or any subcontractor or subordinate subcontractor with respect to the contract of such contractor) with the United States; but nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to apply to any employee of such a contractor or subcontractor who is engaged exclusively in furnishing materials or supplies under his contract;

4.     Under a contract entered into with the United States or any executive department, independent establishment, or agency thereof (including any corporate instrumentality of the United States), or any subcontract, or subordinate contract with respect to such contract, where such contract is to be performed outside the continental United States and at places not within the areas described in subparagraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this subdivision, for the purpose of engaging in public work, and every such contract shall contain provisions requiring that the contractor (and subcontractor or subordinate contractor with respect to such contract) (1) shall, before commencing performance of such contract, provide for securing to or on behalf of employees engaged in such Public work under such contract the payment of compensation and other benefits under the provisions of this Act, and (2) shall maintain in full force and effect during the term of such contract, subcontract, or subordinate contract or while employees are engaged in ,work performed thereunder, the said security for the payment of such compensation and benefits but nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to apply to any employee of such contractor or subcontractor who is engaged exclusively in furnishing materials or supplies under his contract;

5.     Under a contract approved and financed by the United States or any executive department, independent establishment, or agency thereof (including any corporate instrumentality of the United States), or any subcontract or subordinate contract with respect to such contrac4 where such contract is to be performed outside the continental United States, under the Mutual Security Act of 1954 as amended (other than title II of chapter II thereof unless the Secretary of labor, upon the recommendation of the head of any department or other agency of the United States, determines a contract financed under a successor provision of any successor Act should be covered by this section), and not otherwise within the coverage of this section, and every such contract shall contain provisions requiring that the contractor (and subcontractor or subordinate contractor with respect to such contract) (A) shall, before commencing performance of such contract, provide for securing to or on behalf of employees engaged in work under such contract the payment of compensation and other benefits under the provisions of this Act, and (B) shall maintain in full force and effect during the term of such contract., subcontract, or subordinate contract, or while employees are engaged in work performed thereunder, the said security for the payment of such compensation and benefits, but nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to apply to any employee of such contractor or subcontractor who is engaged exclusively in furnishing materials or supplies under his contract;

6.     Outside the continental United States by an American employer providing welfare or similar services for the benefit of the Armed Forces pursuant to appropriate authorization by the Secretary of Defense; irrespective of the place where the injury or death occurs, and shall include any injury or death occurring to any such employee during transportation to or from his place of employment, where the employer or the United States provides the transportation or the cost thereof.

(b) Definitions.

As used in this section–

1.     The term "public work" means any fixed improvement or any project, whether or not fixed, involving construction, alteration, removal or repair for the public use of the United States or its allies, including but not limited to projects or operations under service contracts and projects in connection with the national defense or with war activities, dredging, harbor improvements, dams, roadways, and housing, as well as preparatory and ancillary work in connection therewith at the site or on the project;

2.     The term "allies" means any nation with which the United States is engaged in a common military effort or with which the United States has entered into a common defensive military alliance;

3.     The term "war activities" includes' activities directly relating to military operations;

4.     The term "continental United States" means the States and the District of Columbia.

(c) Liability as exclusive. The liability of an employer, contractor (or any subcontractor or subordinate subcontractor with respect to the contract of such contractor) under this Act shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability of such employer, contractor, subcontractor, or subordinate contractor to his employees (and their dependents) coming within the purview of this Act, under the workmen's compensation law of any State, Territory, or other jurisdiction, irrespective of the place where the contractor hire of any such employee may have been made or entered into.

(d) Definition of contractor. As used in this section, the term "contractor" means any individual, partnership, corporation, or association, and includes any trustee, receiver, assignee, successor, or personal representative thereof, and the rights, obligations, liability, and duties of the employer under such longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act shall be applicable to such contractor.

(e) Contracts within section; waiver of application of section.

The liability under this Act of a contractor, subcontractor, or subordinate contractor engaged in public work under subparagraphs (3) and (4), subdivision (a) of this section, and the conditions set forth therein, shall become applicable to contracts and subcontracts heretofore entered into but not completed at the time of the approval of this Act, and the liability under this Act of a contractor, subcontractor, or subordinate contractor engaged in performance of contracts, subcontracts, or subordinate contracts specified in subparagraph (5), subdivision (a) of this section, and the conditions set forth therein, shall hereafter be applicable to the remaining terms of such contracts, subcontracts, and subordinate contracts entered into prior to but not completed on the date of enactment of any successor Act to the Mutual Security Act of 1954, as amended, and contracting officers of the United States am authorized to make such modifications and amendments of existing contracts as may be necessary to bring such contracts into conformity with the provisions of this Act. No right shall arise in say employee or his dependent under subparagraphs (3) and (4) of subdivision (a) of this section, prior to two months after the approval of this Act, and the liability under this Act of a contractor, subcontractor, or subordinate contractor engaged in performance of contracts, subcontracts, or subordinate contracts specified in subparagraph (5), subdivision (a) of this section, and the conditions set forth therein, shall hereafter be applicable to the remaining terms of such contracts, subcontracts, and subordinate contracts entered into prior to but not completed on the date of enactment of any successor Act to the Mutual Security Act of 1954, as amended, and contracting officers of the United States am authorized to make such modifications and amendments of existing contracts as may be necessary to bring such contracts into conformity with the provisions of this Act. No right shall arise in say employee or his dependent under subparagraphs (3) and (4) of subdivision (a) of this section, prior to two months after the approval of this Act. Upon the recommendation of the head of any department, or other agency of the United States, the Secretary of Labor, in the exercise of his discretion, may waive the application of this section with respect to any contract, subcontract, or subordinate contract, work location under such contracts or classification of employees. Upon recommendation, of any employer referred to in paragraph (6) of subsection (a) of this section the Secretary of Labor may waive the application of this season to any employee or class of employees of such employer, or to any place of employment of such an employee or class of employees.