Defense Base Act Articles
For Civilians Injured Overseas
Death Benefits under the Defense Base Act after Suicide
Suicide is a difficult and sensitive topic to discuss. The pain and loss is unimaginable for family and friends after a loved one commits suicide. Yet suicide occurs more often than most people realize – with nearly 43,000 suicides, and more than 1,000,000 attempted suicide – in the United States every year.
Especially saddening is the fact that almost a quarter of all suicides are committed by former military veterans. However, statistics on suicide rates among civilian contractors working in war zones overseas are less readily available. But civilian contractors experience many of the same war-related exposures and traumas as military personnel. Like our troops, civilian contractors can suffer both severe physical and psychological injuries as a result of wartime activities.
While military personnel are covered by the Veterans Administration, civilian contractors’ are covered by the Defense Base Act for compensation of their injuries. Death benefits for government contractors working overseas are also provided pursuant to the Defense Base Act.
Defense Base Act Suicide Death Benefits Difficult to Obtain
Per 38 CFR 3.302, a military veteran’s eligible survivor can receive death benefits from the VA after the veteran’s suicide, if the Veteran was of “unsound mind” at the time of the suicide and his/her “unsound mind” was a secondary condition or caused by the service-connected condition.
However, death benefits payable to the survivor(s) of a civilian contractor who committed suicide are much more difficult to obtain.
Generally, the Defense Base Act does not cover “self-inflicted” injuries – so survivor death benefits are often categorically denied after a contractor’s suicide. However, under some very specific circumstances, the DBA may provide death benefits after suicide IF the cumulative effect of work-related injuries can be proven to have led to the suicide.
Defense Base Act Suicide Death Benefit Successful Case
With the increased occurrence of tragic contractor suicides, there has been ongoing litigation on the compensability of death benefits for suicide under the Defense Base Act.
In one difficult, lengthy and hard-fought suicide case under the Defense Base Act, a Mr. Logan sustained severe, permanent injuries while working overseas in Iraq supporting the US military during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Due to the extent of Mr. Logan’s injuries he was left in unrelenting, excruciating pain. Unable to bear the pain, Mr. Logan ended his life – leaving behind a grieving widow who struggled to maintain the family’s farm after his death.
After her attorneys’ three year legal battled with the insurance company Mrs. Logan, was finally granted death benefits under the DBA after her husband’s suicide. While the DBA usually does not cover self-inflicted injuries or suicide, the Judge ruled that Mr. Logan’s suicide was the result of a “chain of causation” that originated from his work accident. It was determined that a chain of events resulting from his traumatic brain injury and PTSD from the accident caused Mr. Logan to ultimately take his own life.
Defense Base Act Death Benefit Attorneys
Very few suicides are deemed “work related” under the Defense Base Act, but precedents like the case of Mr. Logan shows that death benefits are sometimes available under the DBA in instances of suicide.
Our highly specialized Defense Base Act attorneys are committed to ensuring that every injured or disabled civilian employee and their family 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.
If you need help obtaining DBA compensation or death benefits, call today for 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
ABOUT SUICIDE PREVENTION
There is a strong link between suicidal behavior and mental disorders. Alcoholism, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia are some of the mental disorders that can be associated with suicidal behavior.
If you or a loved is suffering from any of these conditions, be aware of the warning signs and seek help immediately. Suicidal behavior can be preventable.
If you feel you or a family member is in crisis, please call:
FREE National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7): 1.800.273.8255
Your call will be connected to the crisis center nearest to you. People who care about you are available to help. Talking can be the first step.
If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
You can also learn more about suicide prevention resources at: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
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Our highly specialized Defense Base Act attorneys have successfully filed hundreds of Defense Base Act applications and appeals – obtaining millions of dollars in DBA benefits in our four decades of legal service.
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