Iran Retaliation & Flight PS752 Shootdown Resulting In PTSD Fears For US Contractors


On January 3, 2020, the US launched an airstrike to kill Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani. The assassination was successful, but brought about a turbulent year in relations with Iran. Iran retaliated on January 8, 2020, launching more than a dozen missiles on air bases housing US forces in Iraq. The situation has caused fears of PTSD for those US contractors who have been involved or are at risk of being involved in an attack. The fears only heightened after UIA Flight PS752 was shot down by Iranian missiles, allegedly by mistake, killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board.

For US contractors, particularly those that work in a war zone, hot spot, or zone of special danger, there is always a risk of being involved in an incident that causes PTSD. Over the past two decades, the Middle East has been a dangerous hotspot. No more so than today with Iranian relations deteriorating, leading to warlike attacks.

If you’re a US contractor or a contractor covered under the Defense Base Act (DBA) and involved in an incident that causes PTSD, you’re entitled to benefits. PTSD is covered under the DBA.

Iran’s Retaliation Led to the Shooting Down of Flight PS752

The assassination of Soleimani came at a time when relations with Iran had already been deteriorating. Tensions have risen drastically since 2018 when Trump exited the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran that have crippled the country.

After the assassination, Iran retaliation immediately with a barrage of missiles at US forces in Iraq. Then flight PS752 crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran. It went down just hours after Iran began its attacks on US targets in Iraq. Iran admitted that the plane was shot down by a missile but that it was a grave mistake and unintentional.

Nevertheless, the “unintentional” attack on a civilian aircraft heightened fears and tensions not only between the US and Iran but also those countries whose citizens were killed. Over the past year, there have been more rocket attacks on US targets in Iraq. On February 16, 2021, one of the attacks resulted in the death of a civilian contractor and injured nine people.

If you are a US contractor under the DBA in the Middle East, particularly Iraq, it is important to remember that any of your injuries, including PTSD, or your death are covered under your DBA insurance. Knowing this information may put you at ease and allow you to focus on your job. Worrying over medical bills, care, family care, disability, and death coverage could distract you enough to put you in danger.

If you’ve returned from your job and are seeking advice on getting your DBA benefits, the following information will be helpful.

DBA Insurance Covers PTSD and Delayed Onset PTSD

Many overseas contractors who return home and experience PTSD worry that it may not be a covered DBA benefit. Additionally, they worry that if they don’t experience symptoms right away that there might be a stipulation of time limits. If you experience PTSD days or even months after the event, will you be covered?

The answer is yes, if you’re a covered contractor under the Defense Base Act. In fact, you have up to two years from the first onset of your symptoms to file your claim. This is important to remember as it’s not two years after the incident, but after you start experiencing symptoms. The federal government implemented this time frame because PTSD can be so delayed and hard to diagnose at first. It requires time and multiple appointments to doctors to determine the extent of the PTSD.

Whether your PTSD is immediate or delayed, the symptoms are the same, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Recurring memories that cause stress, anxiety and depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Dreams or nightmares about the event
  • Severe emotional or physical reactions caused by triggers
  • Avoidance
  • Depression, anxiety, detachment
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Being easily startled
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
  • Irritability and angry outbursts

It is important to remember that some who experience PTSD symptoms do not experience them for longer than a few weeks or months. If so, it would not be considered PTSD but rather a normal reaction to anxiety and stress. However, if you experience any of the more dangerous symptoms or they have continued for longer than a few months, you should see a doctor immediately.

Get Treatment, then Find a DBA Lawyer

First and foremost, you must take care of your physical and mental health. Know that any medical costs incurred will be reimbursed to you in full once you begin to receive your DBA benefits. However, it can take away the time you need to heal to deal with filing a DBA claim without the help of an expert. Such experts are called DBA lawyers and they specialize in Defense Base Act claims.

A DBA lawyer will not only be with you every step of the way during your claim, but they will ensure that it’s fill out right. They will also ensure that your receive the benefits you deserve. Under the Defense Base Act, you’re entitled to the following medical benefits, which also apply to PTSD:

  • Medical, surgical and other treatment for any diagnoses
  • Hospital services
  • All prescriptions
  • Medical devises, services and aids
  • Therapy prescribed or recommended by your doctor
  • Your choice of physician and clinic or hospital, as long as the physician and clinic or hospital is on the annual list of authorized providers under the DBA.

Sometimes, your case will be clear, and you could end up receiving your benefits immediately. However, the insurance company will most likely be trying to save costs by undercutting you on your benefits. A DBA lawyer will not only help you file your claim but will make sure your benefits are what you deserve so that you will not need to pay anything out of pocket.

As a contractor working overseas, often in dangerous zones, you deserve to know that you have the same rights as any worker back home. This is why you have the Defense Base Act. Let the DBA lawyers at Moschetta Law fight for your DBA rights. Call us today for a consultation.