When employed overseas, government workers and contractors face unique challenges and risks in their line of duty. Unfortunately, injuries can occur, resulting in physical and emotional hardships for these individuals. In such cases, it is essential to understand and utilize the benefits provided under the Defense Base Act (DBA). However, navigating the intricacies of the DBA can be complex, requiring the expertise of a qualified Defense Base Act attorney. 

At Grossman Attorneys at Law, we recognize the importance of seeking professional assistance when dealing with DBA claims and understanding potential compensation based on Average Weekly Wage (AWW). Our team of experienced Defense Base Act attorneys is dedicated to helping injured workers understand their rights and obtain the compensation they deserve. With in-depth knowledge of the federal laws and regulations surrounding the DBA, we provide compassionate and reliable legal support to those employed overseas. Call today for a free consultation. 

Introduction to the Defense Base Act (DBA)

The Defense Base Act (DBA) and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) are two vital pieces of legislation that work in conjunction to provide coverage and benefits to certain categories of workers. It aims to ensure that injured overseas workers receive the necessary financial support and medical benefits. Under the DBA, the calculation of the employee’s average weekly wage (AWW) plays a significant role in determining the compensation amount. In order to navigate the complexities of the DBA and ensure a fair assessment of AWW, it is essential to seek the assistance of a qualified and experienced Defense Base Act attorney.

Calculation of Average Weekly Wage (AWW)

The claimant’s average weekly wage (AWW) calculation under the Defense Base Act is based on the employee’s work schedule and earnings. Here are the different scenarios and formulas used to determine the AWW.

Five and Six-Day Average Work Week

For employees who have worked a substantial part of the year before the injury and have a consistent five or six-day work schedule, the AWW is calculated as follows:

  • 5-day worker: 260 times the average daily wage
  • 6-day worker: 300 times the average daily wage

Then the average weekly wage is determined by dividing the employee’s annual earning capacity by 52.

Seven Days A Week & Casual Workers

For workers with a seven-day work schedule or those employed on a casual basis, the calculation of the average weekly wages is slightly different. The total earnings before the injury and the average annual earnings of a similar position and location are considered. Then the average wage is determined by dividing the employee’s annual salary by 52.

Insufficient Work History

If the injured employee has not worked substantially before the injury, the AWW is estimated based on the average wage of a similar position and location.

Classification of DBA Compensation

The classification of the injury under the Defense Base Act has a direct impact on the amount of compensation the injured worker is entitled to. Let’s explore the main classifications and their corresponding compensation.

Permanent Total Disability

This classification applies to individuals who have been permanently disabled, preventing them from engaging in any gainful employment. The compensation for permanent total disability is typically two-thirds of the average weekly wage (AWW) and is paid for the remainder of the injured worker’s life.

Temporary Total Disability

Temporary total disability refers to a temporary inability to work in the previous role due to the injury. The injured worker receives compensation equal to two-thirds of their AWW until they are able to return to work.

Permanent Partial Disability

In cases where the injury results in permanent impairment but the individual can still work in other roles, permanent partial disability compensation is determined based on two-thirds of the annual wage and the percentage of loss of the injured body part for specific injuries. 

Temporary Partial Disability

Temporary partial disability applies to injuries that are temporary in nature, allowing the injured worker to perform light duties while recovering. The compensation is two-thirds of the lost wages.

Death Benefits

If you lost a loved one while they were working overseas, you may be entitled to average weekly wage benefits based on your loved one’s previous earnings.

Accounting for Other Work Schedules When Calculating AWW

The DBA recognizes that not all workers have consistent work schedules. To ensure a fair calculation of AWW for workers with inconsistent schedules or workdays, the following considerations are made:

  • Five and Six-day Unsubstantial Workers: If the employee has an unsubstantial work history with a five or six-day work schedule, the AWW is calculated based on the average daily wage of similar employees in comparable positions.
  • Accounting for Varying Schedules: For employees with different work schedules, the calculation of a worker’s AWW considers the earnings at the time the injury occurred and the national average weekly wage of individuals in similar roles.

Accurate and fair calculation of the average weekly wage (AWW) is indeed crucial in Defense Base Act claims. It ensures injured workers receive appropriate compensation that reflects their earnings and work schedule, ultimately providing them with the financial support they deserve during their recovery. To ensure fair calculations, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and DBA lawyer’s involvement plays a significant role.

DBA Claim Assistance

Working overseas can expose individuals to unique risks, and unfortunately, injuries can occur. Statistics show that a significant percentage of civilian workers, approximately 26%, experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to their overseas employment. Navigating the complexities of the DBA can be challenging, especially when dealing with insurance companies. This is where the expertise of Defense Base Act attorneys becomes invaluable.

Experienced DBA attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of the law. They can provide crucial assistance in filing DBA claims and maximizing compensation benefits. They understand the nuances of calculating the average weekly wage (AWW) and can ensure that injured workers receive the compensation they are entitled to under the Defense Base Act.

Hire an Experienced DBA Attorney and Get the Compensation You Deserve

If you have been injured while working overseas, seeking legal representation from an experienced attorney is essential. They can help you navigate the complexities of the DBA and ensure that your average weekly wage (AWW) is calculated accurately, maximizing your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

At Grossman Attorneys at Law, our dedicated team of DBA attorneys has extensive experience handling DBA cases. We understand the importance of fair wage calculations and will provide you with the legal support you need to file your Defense Base Act claim successfully. Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and let us fight for your rights under the Defense Base Act.

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