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Defense Base Act Insuring More Contractors


Civilians, working in a war zone, have as much insurance protection as employees working safely within the United States. Civilians working overseas for the US government are provided insurance very similar to “workers compensation” and it’s mandated by the Defense Base Act. The DBA was enacted in 1941 to provide an insurance policy for private contractors assisting the military in the performance of their duties.

The Defense Base Act provides the equivalent of workers compensation for civilian contractors working in contingency operations like Iraq and Afghanistan. “As designated by the Secretary of Defense, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq are both contingency operations.”

The Defense Base Act Provides Benefits

The Defense Base Act provides benefits in the event that civilian contractors or employees, are injured, killed, or kidnapped in the course of their work for United States government agencies. Civilian contractors covered by the Defense Base Act are entitled to full medical benefits provided by a physician of their choice. Injured workers covered by DBA insurance are entitled to cash disability benefits to replace a portion of their wages that were lost due to their injury.

Survivors of civilian contractors that were killed while on the job, and covered by the DBA insurance, are entitled to receive death benefits. In a recent Analysis by Congress, the number of deaths of civilian contractors in Afghanistan in recent months has soared. There have been 289 deaths of civilian contractors since the beginning of the war over eight years ago, 100 of those deaths have come in just the last six months.

These rising numbers of civilian deaths reflect both the rising violence in the region as well as the increase in the American presence in Afghanistan that was called for by President Obama. The latest numbers of civilian contractors in Afghanistan show that for the first time since the war’s beginning there are more civilians on the ground than soldiers. The report showed that as of February 2010, there are over 100,000 civilian workers in Afghanistan but only about 78,000 soldiers.

This is the largest margin between soldiers and civilians seen yet in Afghanistan. Civilian contractors are being used to deliver food, prepare meals, and a growing number of civilian contractors are being used for security purposes and intelligence gathering. Contractor casualties are not reported in the military death totals released to the public by the government. Statistics for civilian contractor deaths are released through the Department of Labor only.

Labor Department Tracks DBA Insurance Claims

The Labor Department keeps a count of the civilian deaths as part of the Defense Base Act, the DBA insurance program for contractors. This keeps the number of soldier’s deaths in Afghanistan under 1000, an important milestone. This plays better to the public’s perception of the war and makes it appear to be fewer deaths than there actually were when you include civilian deaths. Since the beginning of the war in 2001 till 2009 there have been 848 soldiers and 289 civilian deaths attributable to the Afghanistan war.

Civilian contractors who were injured while working alongside military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan have been finding it difficult if not impossible to collect on their disability claims. Some of these injured workers were shot and some of them were victims of exploding IEDs, all of the civilian victims were injured in the performance of their jobs. If you or a loved one have been injured, while employed by a private contractor working overseas for the US government, contact a personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.

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