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Defense Base Act Explained by Atty. Brian Wiklendt

Third Country Nationals

Lawyer explains the DBAI’m Brian Wiklendt, lead attorney with Garfinkel Schwartz and I’m explaining the different parts of the Defense Base Act Law in sections. It’s important to have this complicated law the Defense Base Act explained in every day language.

You may look at the entire DBA as it is written on the U.S. Department of Labor website. To review this document in full please CLICK HERE.

We’re at the point of the Defense Base Act Law where we’re talking about third country nationals: people hired by U.S. Government contractors who are from other countries than the U.S.

Also what should be known is that there are people who work under these contracts that are known as third country nationals. These are people from another country who are working in a different country for a company that has a U.S. government contract.

For example, someone who is from Cambodia could be working for a UK contractor, a company that is a subcontractor of the U.S. government in Afghanistan, or in Syria, or in Iraq, or in Africa.

That employee is a contractor who if they knew the laws, when injured would be covered under the Defense Base Act. However, many do not.

Local Nationals

There are also local nationals that are actual citizens of the country where the contract is being worked and this law applies to Defense Base Act Lawthem even if they’re not American citizens because they’re working under this contract or subcontract that is basically connected with the U.S. government.

A lot of these people have no idea that they have these rights. Here’s one of the reasons: there’s no reason to connect the employer from another country to the U.S. Government.

For instance if you’re a worker in the Philippines and you get hired by a Turkish firm who is helping rebuild certain buildings in Africa and they’re contracted by the United States to do this, no employeed knows without being told that the U.S. Government has a law to protect them when injured.

A person that’s from the Philippines that gets injured in Africa would go to their Turkish employer and that Turkish employer would be responsible for telling them what certain rights they have if they’re injured. Does this happen? Not all the time.

Most Local and Third Country Nationals Don’t Know Their Rights

dba law explained by an attorneyNow most of the time, in my experience, Local Nationals and Third Country Nationals never find out that they have rights under the United States federal statutes.

And why would they? They’re from the Philippines. They’re from another country. And the company they’re working for is from Turkey—in Africa. There is no real correlation between the countries and the laws. No one would put the two together.

It’s not something that you would think of. There’s no correlation or knowledge that the U.S. holds the contract there. Without them being told that they have these rights it would be almost impossible for them to connect the dots and to figure out that they might actually have rights under the United States government that they would ever even dream of.

A lot of these people have no idea what their rights are. They get injured. They go back home to the Philippines and they don’t know that there are United States benefits that they have rights to. How could they even fathom that? Two different countries with no direct connect to the U.S.

Employers and Insurers Hold Standardized DBA Forms

That’s the sad part about how these insurance companies interpret this section of the statute. And that’s the sad part about it that the insurers, the employers are not required to give standardized forms to any of these people.

The standardized forms are on the Department of Labor website and label them as closed forms. Meaning you can’t get them from the Department of Labor. The employer or the insurance companies have to provide them to the injured person after an injury. I think that’s wrong.

If you have more questions about the Defense Base Act Law you’re not alone. It’s complex and you should speak with an attorney experienced in Defense Base Act Law.

Garfinkel Schwartz. One Family at a Time.