Defense Base Act Information

If you are injured while working abroad for a contractor of the United States government, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Obtaining full compensation in the complex system established under the Defense Base Act can be difficult. The experienced Defense Base Act attorneys at Weltin, Streb & Weltin can help.

Under the Defense Base Act, those employees of contractors with the federal government who are injured while working abroad are entitled to compensation from their employer. The Defense Base Act extends the provisions of the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) to employees of government contractors abroad.

The Defense Base Act specifically covers the following employment activities: working on U.S. military bases or lands used by the U.S. for military purposes outside of the U.S.; working on public works contracts with any U.S. government agency outside the U.S.; working under U.S. Foreign Assistance Act contracts that are performed outside the U.S.; and working to provide welfare and similar services for the benefit of the Armed Forces outside the U.S. If you have been injured working in any of these situations, you are entitled to benefits under the Defense Base Act, regardless of your nationality.

The Defense Base Act uses the provisions of the LHWCA for most of its structure, including compensation rates, forms, medical benefits, schedules for disability ratings, and rules of evidence. Under the Defense Base Act, an injured worker is entitled to paid medical care, disability compensation, rehabilitation, temporary and permanent partial disability, and temporary and permanent total disability. Death benefits are also available to immediate family members of a deceased covered worker.

Government contractors and their insurers retain attorneys to advise them on each injury claim. There is a strong incentive for contractors to avoid reporting injuries, or to minimize those injuries and the compensation that is due. Notice of injury must be given within 30 days, and a claim must be filed within one year, and employers try to avoid their responsibilities based on these and other legal technicalities. It is important for the injured worker to seek the advice of an attorney.

As the U.S. government continues to hire more contractors abroad in an effort to curb costs, and as the U.S. has become more involved in military efforts – particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan – the number of workers covered by the Defense Base Act has grown. Many workers, however, are not aware of their rights, or do not realize that U.S. laws can provide benefits, even when the worker is not a U.S. citizen and is working abroad. Consulting with an experienced Defense Base Act attorney is the best way to ensure that you obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.

Weltin, Streb & Weltin has substantial experience in LHWCA claims as well as Defense Base Act claims. Our Defense Base Act attorneys utilize this extensive experience to successfully represent injured government contractors anywhere in the world. Your case will be handled with the personal attention of an experienced attorney, and we strive to make ourselves available by email, phone, and any other method convenient to those working abroad. For a free confidential consultation, contact our office today.