If You Were Exposed to Burn Pits as a Civilian Contractor, You May Have a Burn Pit Lawsuit.

If you were exposed to burn pits while working overseas as a civilian contractor, call Grossman Attorneys at Law now to speak with us about pursuing compensation under the Defense Base Act. Our experienced DBA attorneys are here to help when you are dealing with a respiratory disease, cancer, or other illness linked to environmental exposure. 

Our law firm focuses on defense base act and military contractor litigation world-wide. If you were injured as an employee of a civilian contractor while working under a U.S. Government contract anywhere in the world, we are here to fight for the compensation you deserve!


The Dangers of Open-Air Burn Pits on Military Bases

A burn pit is an area on a military base used to burn waste. The U.S. military and contractors commonly used open-air burn pits on military installations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

They are most often used for small, short-term operations during which the military cannot establish other waste management practices.

Exposure to a burn pit can be harmful, depending on:

  • What the base burned
  • The frequency, duration, and proximity of your exposure
  • The wind and other weather conditions
  • Whether there were other airborne hazards in the area

The fumes from the burn pit are an airborne hazard, which can contain toxic substances.

When you were exposed to burn pits in Iraq or other nations, you may have breathed in the smoke, gases, sand, dust, and other harmful particles and substances.

What Do They Put in Military Burn Pits?

It is common for the military and contractors to put all sorts of waste in burn pits, including:

  • Paint
  • Petroleum
  • Lubricant products
  • Chemicals
  • Medical waste
  • Human waste
  • Food waste
  • Aluminum and metal cans
  • Munitions and unexploded ordnance
  • Plastics
  • Wood
  • Electronics

In some cases, the service members or contractors operating the burn pits used jet fuel as an accelerant.

Burning these items creates smoke that may be irritating to your eyes, throat, and lungs. You may have experienced symptoms at that time, and you also could be suffering from a long-term health condition because of persistent exposure to toxic fumes.

Department of Defense Acknowledges the Dangers of Burn Pits

The DOD is well-aware that burn pits are harmful. The official policy is that open-air burn pits are prohibited unless no feasible alternative to get rid of waste exists.

As of March 2019, nine U.S.-operated or contractor-operated burn pits existed, including seven in Syria, one in Afghanistan, and one in Egypt.

The VA Acknowledges the Health Risks Related to Burn Pits

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has recognized the health risks associated with burn pit exposure. On March 1st, 2022, the VA proposed adding several rare cancers to their presumed service-connected list as related to burn pits on or near military bases.

The VA Burn Pit Registry

To further study the connection between burn pits and long-term health effects, such as respiratory conditions and cancer, the VA created the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. Veterans and military personnel can document their exposure and health concerns in the registry. 

Potential Cancers Related to Burn Pit Exposure

The VA is investigating the possible link between exposure to burn pits and development of the following cancers:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea
  • Adenocarcinoma of the trachea
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung
  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung
Were you Diagnosed
with a BURN PIT

Our law firm focuses on litigating claims arising from civilian contractor exposure to toxic
chemicals including burn pit smoke, jet fuel, and products containing benzene.

What Are the Symptoms of Burn Pit Exposure?

The DOD and Veteran Affairs are studying the long-term health effects of exposure to open-air burn pits. Right now, there is no concrete link between specific health conditions and exposure.

That is not to say a link does not exist, but there is not enough information. However, there is enough information to be concerned, to support further studies, and to reduce the use of burn pits.

After exposure, short-term burn pit symptoms include irritation of the eyes, throat, nose, and lungs, nausea, and headaches. You may experience burning, itchy, dry, or teary eyes. You may deal with congestion, a sore throat, coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory issues.

These symptoms often go away soon after your exposure ends.

Long-term effects from exposure can vary significantly depending on what was burned and the duration of exposure. The VA admits you may experience long-term effects related to your skin, eyes, respiratory system, liver, kidneys, central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, and gastrointestinal tract.

Most often, burn pit exposure is linked to respiratory problems, autoimmune disorders, and cancers. Many veterans and contractors suffer from asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), bronchitis, sinusitis, and sleep apnea.

Have You Been Diagnosed with a Medical Condition Related to Burn Pit Exposure?

If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that you believe is related to your exposure to burn pits, contact Grossman Attorneys at Law as soon as possible.

We represent civilian contractors exposed to harmful environments overseas who are now suffering from long-term or permanent health conditions. We will thoroughly investigate the connection between your condition and your work overseas and find any evidence relating the two. We tenacious defend our clients’ rights and will take your case to trial if necessary.

Class Action Burn Pit Lawsuit Denied By The Supreme Court

More than 800 veterans came forward in lawsuits against KBR (previously owned by Halliburton) and other contractors that operated burn pits overseas. The veterans claimed they were exposed to harmful fumes because of the materials incinerated in the burn pits.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found KBR was not liable for its actions regarding waste management because it was under military direction. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was unsuccessful, ultimately ending the litigation against the private companies.

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How Can Civilian Contractors Claim Compensation for Burn Pit Injuries?

As a civilian contractor you must file a claim using the Defense Base Act if you were harmed to exposure to toxic burn pits. Military personnel who were exposed to harmful smoke and other air pollutants can purse a claim through the VA. Neither group can sue the burn pit operator that was acting under a U.S. military contract. Call us today to talk about pursuing benefits under the Defense Base Act.

The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). It is a workers’ compensation insurance system for certain federal workers.

The Defense Base Act specifically covers civilian contractors who work overseas under U.S. contracts. You may file a workers’ compensation claim to receive medical, wage, and rehabilitation benefits if you were injured or contracted a disease because of your job.

Surviving relatives can file claims for death benefits.

Who Is Eligible To File A Burn Pit Claim?

To be eligible for compensation for a burn pit claim you must be a worker covered by the defense base act, which includes if you worked for or on:

  • A U.S. military base outside the U.S.;
  • U.S.-occupied land used for military purposes;
  • A civilian contractor overseas under a U.S. government contract; or
  • A public work contract with the U.S. government anywhere outside of the continental U.S.

Second, a doctor must diagnose you with an injury or condition that you can prove is connected to your work. Workers’ compensation insurance covers conditions that arose out of and in the course of employment. However, there is a significant exception to that second requirement.

The Zone of Special Danger Doctrine, which was created and expanded by the courts, says the Defense Base Act covers your injury if you worked in a foreign setting that exposed you to danger. In other words, if you worked overseas in a dangerous area, like a war zone, then you are covered based on that alone. You do not have to provide evidence that causally links your condition to your work duties.

WhEn Your Battle Ends
Ours is Just Beginning

You may Qualify if

The Defense Base Act affords compensation benefits and medical benefits to those engaged in employment, such as:

  • Civilian Contractor

Deployed civilian contractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan, England, Africa, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Philippines, South Korea, Kuwait, or anywhere else in the world under a U.S. government contract.​

  • U.S. Base

Any military, air, or naval base acquired by the United States.

  • U.S. Occupied or Used Land

Upon land occupied or used by the government for military or naval purposes in any territory or possession outside the continental United States.

  • Outside Continental U.S.

Any public work in any territory or possession outside the continental United States if the employee is engaged under the contract of a contractor with the United States.

Benefits Under The Defense Base Act

Through a workers’ compensation claim under the Defense Base Act, you can receive medical, wage, and vocational rehabilitation benefits. When your claim is approved, the insurance covers all reasonable medical care by the doctor of your choice.

The amount of wage benefits you receive depends on your level of disability: temporary total (TTD), temporary partial (TPD), permanent total (PTD), or permanent partial (PPD). In most cases, you can receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW), up to a maximum weekly rate, or two-thirds of wages lost due to a partial disability.

We recommend working with us to pursue wage benefits. We make sure your insurance provider accurately calculates your AWW or wage loss. If this figure is miscalculated, you may not receive all the disability benefits you are entitled to.

If you have a permanent disability due to your occupational disease, you can receive vocational rehabilitation services.

Burn Pit Related Death Benefits

If your loved one was a civilian contractor and passed away from cancer or another work-related condition, talk with us about pursuing death benefits. As a surviving spouse, you may be entitled to half their AWW if you have one child or two-thirds of their AWW if you have two or more children. You also can receive up to $3,000 for reasonable funeral expenses.

Get Started with Your Burn Pit Claim

If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that you believe is related to working with, or near a burn pit, notify your employer right away and request authorization to receive medical care. Make sure your employer completes Form LS-201. Then, call our burn pit exposure attorneys immediately for guidance on how to file a claim. We’ll review your work and medical history for free and let you know if we believe you have a claim. And if we accept your case, you pay nothing unless we win.

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When an injury or accident upends your life, Grossman Attorneys becomes your advocate, aggressively pursuing the justice you deserve.