Defense Base Act Articles
For Civilians Injured Overseas
Important Defense Base Act Appeals & Supreme Court Cases
Under the Defense Base Act, covered contractors are still entitled to DBA benefits, even if their injury did not occur while working or even while on their worksite – as long as the employee’s job was in a “zone of special danger.”
Obviously this does not make most employers, or their insurance company, happy – since it means they are liable to pay benefits for non-work related injuries. As a result, injurers have often tried to appeal decisions that have granted DBA benefits for non-work injuries.
Several of these cases have been appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court. However, both Appeals Courts and the Supreme Court has consistently ruled in favor of the injured workers in these cases, and has allowed benefits for non-work injuries – even in cases where the injured worker was partially or completely responsible for the actions of activities that caused their own injuries.
Important cases protecting Defense Base Act benefits:
O’Keefe v. Smith, Hinchman & Grylls Associates, (1965)
In this case the Supreme Court found that an employee who drown in a lake in South Korea while on a weekend outing that was not job-related was entitled to Defense Base Act coverage.
Page Communications Engineers, Inc. v. Messick, (1970)
In this case the Court ruled that an employee’s accidental electrocution – while operating a tape recorder on a Sunday in his hotel room in a Vietnam war zone – qualified the worker’s widow for DBA benefits. The court noted that the accident occurred on a Sunday, and there was no evidence relating to whether or not the tape recording machine was being used for employment communication purposes.
Ilaszczat v. Kalama Services, (2004)
Even injury from risky “horseplay” has been upheld as covered under the DBA. In this case, the employee’s Defense Base Act benefits coverage was allowed – even though his injuries were sustained in a bar as a result of wager that resulted in a karate competition wherein he was injured.
Smith v. Board of Trustees, Southern Illinois University, (1978)
When an educational advisor stationed in Nepal died while playing golf – as a result of a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm – his DBA benefits were upheld on appeal. The employer argued that the golf game was the cause of the aneurysm and was sufficient to rebut the presumption of coverage. But the Court decided that whether the aneurysm was the result of unsanitary work/living conditions or exertion while playing golf didn’t matter. The Defense Base Act benefits claim was covered because the worker’s employment created a zone of special danger out of which the injury arose.
Takara v. Director (1966)
Defense Base Act coverage was upheld in this case for an electric company employee working on Guam who was struck by a U.S. Navy truck while hitchhiking back to camp from a restaurant – even though he was not working at the time.
Pan American World Airways, Inc. v. Director, OWCP (1964),
Several government contract workers – who had been using an employer owned jeep for a recreation trip on a Bahamas Island – had DBA benefits upheld for their injuries when the Jeep flipped. They Court found them to be within the course and scope of their employment – even though they were engaging in recreation off of the base.
Best Defense Base Act Lawyers
If you were a civilian government contractor injured overseas, it is important to know that your injuries CAN be covered under the Defense Base Act even if they were not incurred in the course of your work. If your employer or their DBA insurance company tries to tell you otherwise, you need to speak to an experienced Defense Base Act lawyer immediately.
Our highly specialized Defense Base Act lawyers 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 lawyers.
Free Consultation with a Defense Base Act Lawyer: 800-964-8047
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.
In our Defense Base Act Blog, our attorneys keep you updated on the latest news and information pertaining to issues affecting civilian contractor employees working overseas and abroad.
Read our articles, then fill out the short form below to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our skilled Defense Base Act Attorneys.
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