The Defense Base Act

Personal Injury Attorney

The Defense Base Act (DBA) applies to injuries to civilian employees working on military bases. The Act applies to virtually every country in the world where civilian employees are injured. It also applies to military bases in the United States. The DBA provides that an injured individual can recover lost wages and medical treatment. There is no provision permitting compensation for general damages, such as pain-and-suffering.

Hundreds of thousands of private employees work on military bases. These individuals perform services related to consulting on technical aspects of military equipment, food service, USO employees, American Red Cross employees, construction workers, domestic work (e.g, babysitting and housecleaning) and information technology consulting. Military personnel on the bases are employees of the Federal Government who are entitled to file federal Worker’s Compensation claims or VA disability claims when they sustain injuries on a military base. However, private employees are not entitled to these benefits. Instead, they must file a claim pursuant to the DBA.

A DBA claim is initiated by careful attention to technical filing requirements, including the duty to report the injury immediately to the injured employee’s immediate supervisor. In addition, written notice is required using form LS 201. A claim form, LS 203, must also be filed with the Office of Worker’s Compensation programs.  Depending on the circumstances, a statute of limitations of one year or 2 years might apply to your claim.

Effectively, the DBA extends federal Worker’s Compensation protections to private workers who are injured on a military base. All or part of a claim under the DBA may be settled. Injured parties may be represented by an attorney or even a qualified non-attorney. Attorneys cannot provide legal services pursuant to a contingent fee agreement. Instead, the attorney is paid directly by the government on an approved hourly rate basis. The DBA was enacted to provide a compensation system for private individuals who are injured on a military base. Otherwise, federal immunity would preclude those individuals from suing the United States Government for compensation. Depending on the circumstances, other claims may apply. For example, if a private employee is injured by a defective product on a military base, he/she may have the right to sue for personal injuries caused by the defective product pursuant to product liability laws. In addition, if a private citizen receives medical treatment at a military hospital and is injured as a result of medical malpractice, they may sue pursuant to a different statute that allows for such malpractice claims.  

If you are the victim of an accident resulting in serious personal injuries, you should contact a personal injury attorney, like the office of Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A. to determine your rights.