Defense Base Act Lawyers

America increasingly employs contractors abroad to perform work in support of our nation’s Armed Forces. In some cases this involves potentially high-risk activities, such as security, transportation and logistics. Many other government contractors perform less hazardous work, in diverse fields such as food service, healthcare, engineering, and facilities maintenance. Employers such as Service Employees International, Dyncorp, L-3 Communications and Titan employ thousands of civilian contractors in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond.

Work in support of the military abroad is of vital importance to America’s military strength. When on-the-job injuries occur, several laws exist to protect workers in this field.

When injured on the job, military contractors working overseas are entitled to compensation under the Defense Base Act. The Defense Base Act specifically covers those who work on U.S. military bases or lands used by the U.S. for military purposes, those who work under public works contracts with U.S. government agencies, those who work under U.S. Foreign Assistance Act contracts, and those who work to provide welfare and similar services for the benefit of the U.S. Armed Forces. In all circumstances, the work must be performed outside the United States. The Defense Base Act applies regardless of your nationality.

Employees of the Armed Forces in America and citizens and permanent residents who work in support of the Armed Forces outside of America are also entitled to compensation for on-the-job injuries. The right to compensation for these workers is created by the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA) . NAFIA applies only to civilians who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and not to military personnel.

Special risks are present for those working in unstable areas where combat, armed conflict, or a lack of centralized authority are present. Compensation for injuries or death due to detention by hostile forces or other war-risk hazards is provided for most government contractors under the War Hazards Compensation Act. The War Hazards Compensation Act provides specific types of compensation for those covered by the Defense Base Act, the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act, and government employees who are not active duty military personnel. “War-risk hazards” is defined broadly and includes any armed conflict in which the United States is engaged or armed conflict between military forces of any origin.

The Defense Base Act, NAFIA, and the War Hazards Compensation Act are treated as extensions of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The acts are all administered by the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. Qualified injured workers are entitled to coverage for necessary medical care, including emergency care, surgery, and rehabilitation. Injured workers are also entitled to disability compensation, based on 2/3 of the worker’s average weekly wages.

The attorneys at Weltin, Streb & Weltin have successfully handled claims on behalf of injured military contractors around the world. Built on extensive experience with LHWCA claims, our firm regularly represents claimants under the Defense Base Act, NAFIA, and the War Hazards Compensation Act. We understand and can quickly identify the key legal and factual issues in your claim, and help ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact our office for a free, confidential consultation today.