Regulations governing the Defense Base Act (“DBA”) often help the injured worker, by holding government contractors and their insurance carriers accountable for paying benefits timely and accurately. These same regulations require injured workers to report accidents timely and to provide information to their Employer about the progress of their recovery.
Unlike motor vehicle accident cases, injuries sustained under the DBA are governed primarily by the statute and regulations that are created by the Department of Labor. These regulations set forth requirements for Employers and their insurance companies to properly and timely administer their files, such as providing timely medical and disability payments.
Besides the statutes and regulations themselves, there is also extensive case law. This case law include prior decisions of the Department of Labor. These case decisions further establish rights under the DBA to injured workers.
The combination of statutes, regulations and case law, make the administration of DBA cases particularly complicated. In some places, the law sets forth strict time frames for requesting benefits and filing claims.
There are numerous gray areas where the law has been interested different ways under substantially similar circumstances. One such gray area is whether an injured worker can return to work making as much income as he did previously, or whether the injury results in a loss of wage earning capacity, entitling her to additional wage loss. Another gray area is whether a particular injury, such as a shoulder or hip injury, results in a permanent loss of wage earning capacity, or should be paid at a fixed, scheduled amount. These issues can often make a dramatic difference in the overall benefits payable under a claim.
Please feel free to contact our Atlanta Defense Base Act attorneys if you have any questions regarding your rights under the DBA.