Government laws, rules, regulations, and programs are complicated. While the initial reason for a law is simple, the actual law itself is typically pages long, written in legalese, and extremely hard read, let alone follow.
Using the Defense Base Act (DBA) as an example, the reason for the law is simple – to provide workers’ compensation insurance for those workers overseas who are assisting the U.S. military (typically on U.S. military bases) but are not employed by any branch of the military.
The DBA law, however, is long, has many varying provisions, and includes a number of deadlines to file a valid DBA claim. In fact, the Department of Labor has dedicated an entire office to administering the DBA, as well as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, because those laws are such a challenge to administer.
So, without question, you would be wise to have a helpful person to guide you through your DBA claim process, and that person would be an experienced DBA attorney in Jacksonville, FL. For that, you should look no farther than Doolittle & Tucker, P.A.
DBA claims work is highly specialized, and there are not that many attorneys who practice in the area enough who truly understand all of the nuances of the law. If you were injured on the job and are covered by the DBA, then call us today at 904-396-1734. We would be able to walk you through the DBA claim process with ease. You would be able to benefit from the years of DBA claim experience of our expert DBA attorneys here in Jacksonville, FL.
What Are the Finer Points of the DBA?
In many of our blogs, we talk about the DBA basics, and take a 30,000-foot view of the DBA claim process. This time, we thought we would talk a little about the lesser known, sometimes quirky, rules embedded in the DBA law. So, let’s go ahead and pick out some of those small but important rules and provisions that may not always be covered in a DBA claim overview.
A. Do I Get Mileage Reimbursement in a DBA Case?
Yes. The DBA is thoughtful enough to realize that it is costly and time consuming to travel back and forth to your doctor’s office, to the pharmacy, to the hospital for tests, and to physical therapy appointments. Accordingly, the DBA provides you with mileage reimbursement for all of those trips. That is not a typical benefit from other workers’ compensation programs, so it is good to know that it is available. It can a nice extra savings so you have more pocket money for other important expenses.
The Department of Labor does not have a specific form to fill out for this benefit, which is unusual. However, at Doolittle & Tucker we have created a form that will help you complete your round-trip mileage and seek reimbursement.
B. Are Non-U.S. Residents and Third-Country Nationals Covered Under the DBA?
Yes. The DBA covers non-U.S. residents and third-country nationals that are injured overseas while working under a Defense Base Act contract. It does not matter whether you are from Macedonia, Peru, Chile, Afghanistan, or Iraq. It also does not matter if you are a local hire or a third-country national. As long as you are working for an employer that is helping the U.S. military at a base overseas and covered by the DBA, the benefits from a DBA claim are available to you. Although the benefits might be, at times, different than those of United States citizens and residents, you are still covered under the DBA.
C. How Do Attorney Fees Work Under the DBA, and Will I Have to Pay My Attorney?
Fees essentially work in two ways under the DBA. Under one scenario, your attorney will file the DBA claim on your behalf. The DBA insurance company for your employer then has 30 days to reply to the filing of the claim. If they reply and accept everything that your attorney requests of them to do for you, then you will pay for the attorney’s services directly. Doolittle & Tucker does not charge retainer fees. Rather, we help you throughout the claim, and then we build the attorney fee at the end when the DBA claim is settled.
Under a second scenario, your attorney will again file the DBA claim. But, if the DBA insurance company for your employer denies or controverts the claim, or they simply don’t reply within 30 days of service of the claim, then liability for the attorney fee is on the employer’s insurance carrier, provided the attorney helps you obtain DBA benefits.
D. How Far Could I Travel for a DBA Medical Exam?
If you file a DBA claim, then there is a good chance you may need to be checked by a doctor, at the request of your employer, or your employer’s DBA insurance carrier. Under the DBA, the ideal distance to travel for an exam would be 25 miles. However, depending upon the specialty of the physician, or your geographic area, in certain circumstances you may be required to travel up to 200 miles.
E. What is the Difference Between “Nature” and “Extent” of Disability Under the DBA?
Simply put, in DBA terminology, “nature” refers to the duration of your injury, i.e., how long your injury lasts before you are healthy and/or able to return to work. “Extent,” by contrast, refers to the degree or seriousness of your injury.
With regard to “nature,” your injury can be either temporary or permanent. With regard to “extent,” your injury can be either partial or total. In sum, those terms essentially determine the type of disability benefits you can expect to receive and for how long.
F. Are Psychological Injuries, Such As PTSD, Covered Under the DBA?
Yes. Under the DBA, psychological injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression are covered. That is a great benefit, because other workers’ compensation programs may not cover psychological injuries. As a result of a psychological injury, you may be entitled to wage loss and medical benefits under the DBA.
Let the Best DBA Attorneys in Jacksonville, FL Guide You through Your DBA Claim
At Doolittle & Tucker, we have a reputation for zealously representing our clients while maintaining the highest level of professionalism. Let us help you with your DBA claim. We are the top DBA attorneys in Jacksonville, FL. Call us today at 904-396-1734.