Have you been hurt while working overseas as a civilian government contractor? You may qualify for compensation benefits under the U.S. Defense Base Act, designed to support survivors of workplace accidents or those who have lost loved ones on U.S. military bases, territories, or land used for military purposes. 

At Grossman Attorneys at Law, we bring decades of experience handling Defense Base Act claims for clients nationwide. We will fight tenaciously to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

What Is the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act (DBA) was a 1941 Congressional act that provides alternative workers’ compensation to cover U.S. civilian employment activities outside of the United States. Workers may be working under national defense, government, or public work overseas contracts, or on U.S. military bases. Eligible survivors of workplace accidents during such contracts may receive compensation protections for their medical expenses, disabilities, and more. Survivors of lost loved ones may seek death benefits. 

Who May Qualify for Defense Base Act Benefits?

The Defense Base Act provides indemnity for loss for the following employment activities: 

  • Private employment work on U.S. military bases, territories, or land used for military purposes
  • Public work contracts in connection to U.S. government agencies, including foreign war activities, construction service work, and more
  • Foreign Assistance Act-funded contract work 
  • Employment with organizations that provide welfare services to non-U.S.-based Armed Services, like the United Service Organizations (USO) or American Red Cross
  • Transportation to and from the qualifying employment location when funded by the employer or the U.S. government

The above criteria apply to U.S. citizens, residents, host country nationals, third-country nationals, and local hires, regardless of nationality. The DBA does not cover provisions under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act or agricultural, casual, domestic, or non-employer-related work. 

Complex worker’s compensation laws make DBA eligibility hard to understand. Injured employees or their loved ones should contact the firm at Grossman Attorneys at Law for a free consultation to determine case viability. 

Available DBA Benefits and Compensation

Victims or their loved ones may file claims for loss for qualifying accidents, injuries, or death. Available benefits under the Defense Base Act include the following:

Medical treatment: The medical benefits may cover required treatments from the employee’s chosen physician related to the accident injuries. Employees can continue receiving compensation for necessary future treatments, procedures, therapies, etc. Additionally, mental health treatment is available for those who suffered trauma or developed PTSD while working.

Disability benefits: Disability compensation depends on the employee’s status. Survivors with a temporary disability may receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage or loss of wages (without exceeding $1,030.78). Victims with permanent disabilities may receive two-thirds of their lost earning capacity, with various maximum caps. 

Vocational rehabilitation: U.S.-residing employees with permanent disabilities that prevent them from returning to the workforce may receive rehabilitation benefits. 

Death benefits: Eligible loved ones of employees killed during an eligible overseas workplace accident may receive a portion of the victim’s weekly paycheck and up to $3,000 in funeral costs, plus additional death benefits. Learn more about how to calculate your defense base act settlement here.

Defense Base Act Death Benefits

If an employee dies during a qualifying accident, their loved ones may receive compensation for various income losses and funeral costs. A single surviving child or spouse may receive one-half of the employee’s weekly earnings. If two or more loved ones are eligible, they may receive up to two-thirds of the weekly rate (maximums apply). 

Injuries and Illnesses Covered Under the Defense Base Act

Many injuries are eligible for DBA coverage, assuming they happened during a qualifying accident. Frequent injuries covered under the Defense Base Act include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Burns and lacerations
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Torn ligaments, muscles, or tendons
  • Injuries from explosive devices
  • Hearing loss
  • Injuries from training
  • Illnesses or diseases while under contract
  • Toxic smoke inhalation

Minor injuries that don’t require medical treatment may not result in compensation. Any major physical damages that require out-of-pocket expenses may be eligible for compensation. 

Liability Requirements

The Defense Base Act is a no-fault policy under U.S. worker’s compensation laws. Regardless of accident liability, employees may seek compensation for their damages. Employees or their legal representatives do not need to prove who was at fault for their accident. 

What To Do After an Overseas Workplace Accident 

Workplace accidents are overwhelming and traumatic experiences, especially when they occur overseas. Employees frequently don’t know how to respond appropriately, which can ultimately affect their ability to receive benefits under the Defense Base Act. To protect their physical and financial well-being, employees should take the following steps after an injury:

  1. Immediately notify any supervisors or employers on the scene
  2. Obtain medical treatment for all injuries as soon as possible
  3. In non-emergency scenarios, request a medical treatment authorization form (Form LS-1)
  4. For life-threatening injuries, seek immediate treatment first, then request authorization or insurance information from the employer
  5. Avoid speaking with any insurance professional about injuries until receiving legal representation
  6. After receiving treatment, contact an attorney at Grossman Attorneys at Law to discuss the case

When receiving treatment authorization, employees may select their chosen provider. Employees have thirty days to file a notice of injury or death with Form LS-1, though extensions may be granted for certain diseases or hearing loss scenarios. 

Filing for compensation after an injury is a complex process that requires legal support. All injuries must be filed within one year. Disease cases may be filed within two years of discovering the disease’s onset relative to the prior employment. 

How a DBA Attorney Can Help You Seek Maximum Compensation

Our Defense Act Base attorneys at Grossman Attorneys at Law can help you seek maximum compensation for your case. Our team has ample experience fighting for victims’ rights and compensation under the DBA. 


Defense Base Act cases are complex and include many specific requirements and restrictions. A standard worker’s compensation lawyer does not have enough experience handling the ins and outs of such complicated situations. Our team at Grossman Attorneys at Law has decades of experience dealing with such cases, so we know exactly how to handle any situation we encounter.  


DBA claims involve many rules and regulations. A simple misinterpretation can set a claim behind, delaying the entire process. Because our attorneys at Grossman Attorneys at Law deal with DBA paperwork on a daily basis and know exactly how to proceed as efficiently as possible, we will not miss deadlines or accidentally submit errors. 

Our legal team understands that each client wants to receive compensation as soon as possible, so our firm does everything possible to expedite each client’s case. 


Occasionally, complex DBA claims result in insurance battles, denials, and court cases. The Grossman attorneys press hard for maximum compensation, even if that means taking the case to court. 

Call Grossman Attorneys at Law for a Free Consultation Today

If you or a loved one suffered an injury while working on a U.S. military base, for the U.S. government, or on a U.S. federal military contract as a civilian, know that our firm is recognized as one of the best Defense Base Act law firms in the nation. Contact our team at Grossman Attorneys at Law in Boca Raton, Florida, today at to set up a free consultation. You’ll incur no cost when you hire our firm. 

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