When you become a civilian contractor working overseas, you know the risks involved. If you’re working as private security, you’re most likely going to be working in hazardous conditions. Working under U.S. humanitarian aid efforts might lead to working in a war zone. Or, if you’re a public works contractor building roads and schools, you’ll most likely be in a country torn apart and affected by war. Working in such hazardous conditions, you’re putting yourself in greater harms way. If you become an injured worker under these conditions, you deserve to receive as much compensation required to recover from lost wages, as well as to financially recover from medical costs. Yet, you may be pressured to accept a lower DBA insurance settlement.
However, your settlement shouldn’t be based on the bare minimum required to scrape by. Rather, it should be based on what you deserve and need to recover – both medically and financially.
Getting What You Deserve In A DBA Insurance Settlement
After getting injured and filing your Defense Base Act claim, the process to receive your compensation benefits is long and filled with more stress and anxiety. Most Defense Base Act cases end in settlement and at this point you might think it’s easier to just accept whatever the DBA insurance company offers you, which is often the bare minimum compensation required. Yet, you deserve more. You shouldn’t have to worry about your finances while recovering from an injury.
“How do I make sure that I get everything I deserve – my past and future lost wages or compensation for past and future medical treatment?”
“Moreover, how do I make sure I don’t just get a low-ball settlement from the insurance company?”
These are questions often asked when it comes to Defense Base Act claims. They need to be answered before you begin the process of filing your claim so that you get the compensation you deserve. If you want to win your settlement, then you’ll want to make sure you file your claim correctly and not accept anything lower than what you’re entitled to receive.
Steps For Winning Your Settlement
- File your claim on time and correctly. This can’t be stressed enough. You must file your DBA claim within a year after the alleged incident or within one year of the last payment of worker’s compensation benefits. Moreover, you need to make sure that all the information is correct and accurate. An insurance adjuster will look for any inconsistencies to deny or dispute the claim. Making sure your claim is filed with all the necessary information will make it hard for the insurance company to deny your benefits.
- Keep all your records and any information related to the incident. As the process drags on, you’ll want to keep all your records and any information related to your case. This is in the event there’s a dispute, which invariably, there will be. These records are proof that compensation and medical treatment are still needed and that your injury is covered under the Defense Base Act. The more information and proof you keep and forward to your attorne, the stronger your case.
- Keep diligent medical records. The Department of Labor’s Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC), Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) will need to know whether you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement (or MMI). This is to determine whether or not your case is amenable to settlement. However, keeping any information related to your medical care is going to ensure that you not only receive compensation, but it’s also going to ensure that you receive the continued medical care you need and any future compensation for lost wages and continued medical treatment.
- Always tell the truth. Insurance companies have their lawyers too, which means they’ll have experts combing over all your records and information to see if there are any inconsistencies. These inconsistencies could bring your credibility into question, which could lead to a denial or dispute of your claim. Unfortunately, some medical providers make mistakes in documenting your record and these can be construed as you not being consistent. Not exaggerating and always telling the complete truth will help you win your case.
- Bring a DBA attorney with you to any meetings. Having an experienced DBA attorney representing you will take much of the stress and anxiety away from the process. They’ll make sure that you aren’t pressured to take a lower settlement than what you deserve. As experienced lawyers in the Defense Base Act, they know the ins and outs of the law and so will be able to help you obtain what you deserve. Furthermore, if there’s a dispute, they’ll do all the heavy lifting for you so that you can continue to focus on your recovery.
Determining Your Payment
When your claim reaches a point where settlement is possible, you’ll have two options in receiving your payments: a lump sum or a weekly disability payment. Most DBA insurance companies will pay you in one lump sum to finalize your entire claim. However, you may want to structure payments so you receive periodic (weekly or monthly) payments if that’s what you prefer.
At the time of settlement, you can then accept what the insurance company offers you. If you believe you’re entitled to more, you can try to convince them to offer you more, but if you did not hired an experienced DBA attorney prior to negotiations, you probably won’t get very far with just asking for more. This is where a DBA attorney will benefit you the most as they have the skills and expertise necessary to develop evidence so that they can persuade the insurers to settle higher. However, if the insurance company refuses to give you more, you can take your case to trial. If you win, an Administrative Law Judge may order the insurance carrier to pay you a lump sum of money for past-due compensation and possibly weekly benefits going forward, along with medical treatment. It just depends since all cases are different and no two are alike.
Don’t Settle For Less Than What You Deserve
Through this entire process, from filing your claim to settlement or trial, a Defense Base Act attorney is going to fight for your rights. Even if you think you have a clear-cut case, insurance companies may still find a way to short-change you on your compensation benefits. If you want to receive the highest settlement possible – an amount you’re entitled to and deserve – then you should consult an experienced DBA lawyer before moving forward on your claim. As stated above, you may not even be responsible for paying for your own attorney, so there is no reason to wait to contact a DBA attorney.
At the Moschetta Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in prosecuting Defense Base Act cases. Furthermore, we know how the insurance companies and employers are going to argue in order to get you to settle for a lower compensation rate. Because of our knowledge and expertise in handling these case, we can anticipate how the other side going to argue against your claim. This means we can prepare to defend you and assert your rights fully and successfully. If you want to receive your due benefits after getting injured, contact our law firm today.