Defense Base Act Attorney

San Diego Personal Injury Attorney

Defense Base Act Lawyers in San Diego, CA

Defense Base Act Attorney


The Defense Base Act protects civilian employees working outside the United States, usually in US military bases, for national defense purposes, or under a contract with the US government for public works and related engagements. It provides medical treatment and compensation protection for workers injured in the scope and course of employment.

While many personal injury firms are out there, not many are familiar with how the DBA works and how workers can successfully recover compensation. Consult with our competent and compassionate San Diego, CA defense base act attorney

This article will briefly discuss the Defense Base Act and how qualified recipients of medical treatment and disability compensation, rehabilitation services, or death benefits can benefit from it. This article is divided into the following sections:

  • Looking at Personal Injury Cases
  • Basics of the Defense Base Act
  • Who is Covered by the Defense Base Act?
  • Injuries under the Defense Base Act
  • Recovering Damages through a Personal Injury Claim
  • What Do If was Injured on the Job?
  • Getting a Credible Personal Injury Attorney for Your Case
  • Legal Help from a Dedicated Local Attorney

Looking at Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury laws cover a wide range of cases. A personal injury case may pertain to incidents that can happen anywhere. It could involve defective products, dog bites, or a slip and fall injury within your neighborhood. It could include nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, or other forms of neglect or carelessness in care facilities.

In some cases, however, it could happen miles and miles away from your hometown. The Defense Base Act (DBA) applies to civilians working in conjunction with the US military or those coordinating with other government agencies in Afghanistan or Iraq. It covers civilian employees under contract to the United States to perform “public works” outside the continental United States, such as US military, air, and naval bases outside the country.

Basics of the Defense Base Act

Broadly, the DBA covers civilian contractors who have suffered a severe injury while working on a government contract anywhere in the world outside the United States.


The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act of 1927 (LHWCA) covers dock and maritime workers not covered by the Merchant Maritime Act, which provides compensation for seafarers injured while at sea. 

The Defense Base Act (DBA), which Congress enacted in 1941, extends the Longshore Act. It generally provides workers’ compensation protection and medical treatment to civilian employees working outside the United States or under a contract with the US government for public works or national defense, such as those on US military bases.

It also includes American civilian employees providing welfare or similar services outside the US specifically for the benefit of the military, such as those in the United Service Organizations (USO).


The Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC) of the US Department of Labor (DOL) administers the LHWCA.

Like other personal injury claims, thorough investigation, skillful negotiation, and litigation expertise in courts of law on behalf of the claimant are necessary to arrive at the best possible outcome. Benefits are paid directly by an authorized self-insured employer or through an official insurance carrier or, in particular circumstances, by a special fund administered directly by the DOL.

Who is Covered by the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act will likely cover you if you are injured on the job in a country featuring the US military, a US military base, or a related government presence. These may include:

  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Great Britain
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Panama
  • Hungary
  • Korea
  • Japan
  • Guam

Covered workers include, but are not limited to consultants, medics and members of medical teams, engineers, PMC (private military contractor-former soldier/police officer), private security, translators and interpreters, bomb disposal experts, non-military support staff, project managers, carpenters, utility workers, constructor workers, technicians, electricians, and truck drivers.

Personal injury cases involving defense contract worker injuries are likewise usually covered by the DBA. You would likely have a possible case if you are injured while working overseas for any contractor below:

  • Bechtel: Engineering, Construction & Project Management
  • Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)
  • DynCorp International
  • Halliburton: Oilfield Services

Injuries under the Defense Base Act

The Defense Base Act covers civilian employees under contract to the United States to perform public works outside the continental United States. Part of the benefits covered is medical benefits, death benefits, and disability compensation. Permanently disabled employees who cannot return to work without assistance may also benefit from rehabilitation services.

Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be entitled to receive benefits for a set time under the Defense Base Act. In general, the type of unscheduled injury or scheduled injury must be considered.

  • Scheduled injuries

This often involves the loss of function of body parts. Typical examples are loss of limb or appendage or loss of hearing

  • Unscheduled injury

These may include head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), neck and spinal cord injury, back injury, shoulder pain injury, hip injury, burns, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Recovering Damages through a Personal Injury Claim

Although it is impossible to find an exact dollar value on serious injury, what you are to recover should be enough to cover what you had to spend (such as medical expenses) and compensate for what you should have received (such as lost income). Below are what could be recovered.

  • A personal injury case will likely include medical bills, including the costs of using the emergency room, urgent care center, or hospital room.
  • Also included are medications (both prescription and over-the-counter medications) that are necessary for the treatment of both minor and severe injuries.
  • Additionally, a personal injury claim will often cover the cost of rehabilitation services (such as outpatient rehabilitation, in-home rehabilitation, occupational therapy, or physical therapy) as well.

To be entitled to receive benefits under the Defense Base Act, an individual must have sustained an injury while working overseas under a US government contract. If an injury leads to a disability, which results from an accident while employed, you can be entitled to receive benefits.

Most of the time, you work with a San Diego, CA personal injury lawyer not only to pursue monetary compensation. It is very seldom all about the money alone. The amount you will eventually receive is incomparable to your injury’s physical or emotional impact, the accompanying emotional distress, and the pain and suffering you have to go through. This is especially true in the case of the wrongful death of a loved one.

What Do If was Injured on the Job?

Being injured in an accident can be frustrating and frightening, especially if you have suffered life-changing serious injuries. If you need to seek medical treatment for any severe injury, do so as soon as you can.

Indeed, a diagnosis is crucial for injury claims and reimbursement of medical bills. However, first and foremost, seeking medical attention should be a priority for your safety. Time plays a significant role in most bodily injuries, so make sure to seek medical care as soon as you find the need to.

Due to the nature of their work, civilian contractors overseas, particularly those on US defense bases, could be injured or even killed. If this happens to you or a family member, you need legal help from a hands-on San Diego CA defense base act lawyer. Having a seasoned attorney by your side is essential to achieving the best outcome, especially in a personal injury lawsuit with considerable damage.

Some victims feel that they have a slim chance of getting compensated for all the emotional distress, traumatic injuries, and economic damages that an accident has caused. However, an experienced legal professional can help protect your legal rights and plan the next steps that you will take.

Getting a Credible Personal Injury Attorney for Your Case

In particular personal injury cases, claimants commit minor mistakes and end up not getting fully paid for the medical expenses and emotional distress caused by accidents in the workplace. Talk to experienced and hands-on California DBA lawyers who will be able to explain relevant laws and statutes.

When seeking legal representation, it is crucial to look for someone who has extensive experience in going to court and dealing with insurance companies, mainly how they set a settlement value for a particular case. A competent San Diego, California DBA lawyer can provide legal representation for injured workers covered under the Defense Base Act.

He or she should .look into every single detail about your case, organize facts and evidence, and determine the best path to take to seek maximum compensation.

Legal Help from a Dedicated Local Attorney

At The Benner Firm, our defense base act attorneys in San Diego can clearly explain everything you need to know.  If you have any legal questions about this, contact us, and a legal professional from our San Diego, CA personal injury law firm will be glad to assist you. We will work with you to obtain what you deserve and maximize your financial compensation.

We commit ourselves to protect your rights as a civilian employee working outside the United States on US military bases. Call us at 619-595-6794 and get reliable legal representation for matters related to the DBA, mass torts, and other personal injury claims in California.

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