With US engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan being focal points for the news media, the use of contractors in development projects around the world has come more directly into the American consciousness. Although attention to contractors only tends to arise when scandal breaks out, most contractors are legitimate workers who are trying to achieve important goals under the payroll of the federal government. To protect those working in the employment of the government in American ports, the federal government passed the Defense Base Act, or DBA, in 1941.
As expected, DBA workers’ compensation rules are significantly more stringent that regular state compensation laws. The process, unlike claims filing under state laws, begins with laborers notifying their superiors. It is general protocol that the proper paperwork must be completed prior to medical treatment. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs handles these forms after they are appropriately filed.
According to the law, the injured employee has the right to select their physician of choice. The caveat to this is that the doctor must be within the approved list of physicians set by the Secretary of Labor. In accordance with this portion of the law, employers must provide these workers with the appropriate care until they recover. This may include the provision of medication and crutches as well as care from on-site nurses.
In general, scheduled injuries are permitted under the DBA’s system, but are usually not used in order to apply an average weekly wage system of compensation. In this system, payment is calculated by totaling the worker’s wage and dividing it according to weekly participation. There are provisions in which both parties agree to settle as opposed to the regular system of payment, which allows for more communication between employees and employers.
To learn more about how contractors can protect themselves in case of an injury, contact a skilled and experienced workers’ compensation attorney.