Defense Base Act: Which Employer Pays When an Old Work Injury is Aggravated?
Civilian contractors working overseas frequently move from one company/employer to another. That is simply the nature of a lot of “contract” work. But what happens when an injury at a new job worsens or “aggravates” an injury from working at a previous employer?
The Defense Base Act covers new injuries and illnesses, as well as “aggravation injuries” to pre-existing conditions. If you are a civilian defense contractor who was injured while working overseas, and your injury exacerbated or aggravated a pre-existing work injury – even by 1% – then your employer and their DBA insurance carrier may be liable for your entire disability.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the employer or their Defense Base Act insurance company may try to deny your DBA claim by blaming your present medical issues on a pre-existing medical condition. But that is NOT how the Defense Base Act law works!
According to the Defense Base Act, when an injured worker has a consequential or second injury, the employer and its insurance carrier is still liable for the entire disability – so long as the second injury is the “natural, unavoidable consequence of the initial work injury”.
This is called the Aggravation Rule”. In other words:
- If your disability results from the natural progression of a prior injury – meaning it would have occurred even without the subsequent injury – then the employer (and their DBA insurance) at the time of the prior injury is responsible.
- However, if the “new” injury aggravates, accelerates or combines with the earlier injury to result in your disability, your current employer is responsible to pay your Defense Base Act benefits.
This “Aggravation Rule”, can cause numerous problems in obtaining benefits under the Defense Base Act, since both employers will try to “point the finger” at the other employer as the responsible party. And the poor, injured worker gets caught in middle with no benefits.
Defense Base Act Attorneys
If you are or were a Civilian contractors working abroad who has suffered an “aggravation injury” it is important to speak to an experienced Defense Base Act attorney. We will ensure that your employer or their DBA insurance company does NOT deny your claim or give you the run around by claiming that your problems are the result of pre-existing problems, contact an experienced attorney. You may be entitled to compensation and medical benefits.
The answer to whether your condition is considered a natural progression (first employer pays) or an “aggravation” (second employer pays) depends upon the medical evidence. This will include doctor’s depositions, medical records, and other records.
Our skilled and experienced Defense Base Act attorneys will help you properly present your DBA case so that the responsible employer starts paying your DBA benefits as soon as possible – so you can get the treatment you need and be on your road to recovery as soon as possible.
Best Defense Base Act Attorneys
Our highly specialized Defense Base Act attorneys are committed to ensuring that every injured or disabled civilian employee obtains the benefits he or she has earned. We have successfully filed hundreds of Defense Base Act applications and appeals – obtaining millions of dollars in DBA benefits in over four decades of legal service.
Call today, or fill out the short form on the right to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our skilled and experienced Defense Base Act Attorneys.
Free Consultation with a Defense Base Act Attorney: 800-964-8047