Workers' Compensation Claims
|Over the past ten
years, many civilian workers have been hired by American companies to work
on projects overseas. Some have worked on the facilities used in the Gulf
War, while others were hired to build embassies and other United States
government buildings from London to Moscow and on to Afghanistan.
Workers are usually hired on a contract basis at wage levels well in excess of those available in the States, based in no small part on the fact that the various job sites tend to be a bit more dangerous and difficult.
The fact that these jobs involve higher risk often leads to a greater number of work related injuries. In some cases, the employers set up health insurance plans to cover such injuries, but in most instances the worker is covered under the Defense Base Act, a federal workers' compensation law.
Under that law, injured workers are eligible to receive weekly benefits for time lost from work or lost pay, as well as complete coverage for health care. Further, if the injuries are to the extremities resulting in a permanent impairment they can be compensated with what is sometimes a large award for permanent disability benefits. Even if the injury is not to the extremities, if it results in a later inability to perform the same or similar job, the injured worker may be entitled to receive an award for additional, substantial benefits for loss of wage earning capacity.
A cautionary note: the Defense Base Act requires notice of the injury to be given in writing to the employer within thirty days, and any actual claim for benefits must be filed within one year of the date of injury. Most employers simply do not warn injured workers of these requirements. Failure to follow these rules could result in a denial of benefits, leaving the worker to bear the entire cost of the injury.
If you think you may be eligible for these benefits as a result of an overseas (nonmilitary) injury,
Ray Calafell, Jr. PA
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