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Defense Base Act

Defense Base Act

Who We Are

Garfinkel Schwartz helps civilian contractorsGarfinkel Schwartz provides clients around the world with representation as Defense Base Act Attorneys and with DBA legal services to help obtain the medical care and financial compensation that you’re owed as a civilian contractor, federal employee, sub-contractor of the DoD or U.S. government.

Many of our clients were hurt in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Asia, remote areas in the Middle East, in Australia, South America, Central America and Africa.

We work with clients no matter where in the world. Why? Because DBA Law is federal. If you are or you were a civilian contractors or sub-contractor we can help you. We are based in Florida, but we fly to you wherever you are.

First, We Want to Know What Happened

We are there for you with answers when you call. Attorney Brian Wiklendt and Paralegal Doreen Cabral say that “first, we want to know what happened to you.” Garfinkel Schwartz promises to help one family at a time. So that means we are here to help and there is a continuous and open line of communication with you. We give everyone the confidentiality, the privacy, the respect and the honor that is deserved of each and every client. Please call 1-800-393-2999.

When you call, we answer. If we don’t answer your call it is because:

  1. We are in Court
  2. In a deposition
  3. In an airplane
  4. Traveling on the road
  5. In a settlement meeting
  6. Time zone is EST (we do need to sleep) so our answering service will want the best phone number and e-mail so that when we get to the office we can call you right back.
  7. Please be patient and know that we will talk with you as quickly as possible and you’ll be happy to know we answer calls on weekends and after hours.

The good news is this: we ANSWER you. We take your problems to heart and we want you to know that we’re going to talk with you. Please be patient because if you call our 24-7 answering service…we might be in a different time zone than you are.

We work with third-country nationals in many countries. Third country nationals are hired in countries where conflicts take place. They may be working for a Department of Defense contractor or sub-contractor. However, if you’re working for the DoD sub-contractor, you’re covered by the DBA no matter where you live or where you’re from.

The Defense Base Act doesn’t solely cover Americans, it covers anyone injured or sick or who dies working for the U.S. government, DoD in hostile or hot zones around the world.

If you’ve been hurt or gotten sick on the job working overseas for a Department of Defense contractor or Civilian Contractors in Iraqon a U.S. military base, or for the U.S. Government in a war zone and any non-military employee denied medical care, medical claims and compensation, the Defense Base Act law was created to help you.

DBA law  is a complex area of law and you should work with an experienced attorney. You’re welcome to contact Garfinkel Schwartz at 1-800-393-2999 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We always call you back.

Garfinkel Schwartz, has been a DBA law firm since 1976, and fights for the rights of injured private military contractors who are covered under the Defense Base Act to receive medical care and compensation.

Lead counsel Brian Wiklendt helps federal workers, civilian contractors, government and military base employees and longshoremen around the world who have been denied medical claims, benefits and compensation. 

How We Work With You

Civilian contractors IraqDefense Base Act law cases are fought in federal court so while we are in Florida, no matter where you are located, we come to a federal court near you. This is federal law so Brian will fly to wherever you are.

Brian will explain what’s happening every step of the way and always returns calls. Yes, we’re based in Florida but we practice Federal law. That means your case is tried in federal courts so we come to you. We visit you and meet you in your home town where you are comfortable. 

Don’t Trust Insurance Reps

Just be sure that you don’t fall for the insurance company reps who see you first in the hospital. Call an attorney to monitor your case so that you are assured that you get YOUR first choice doctor who will provide the best care. The insurance companies will be looking for the cheapest care. Why? Because if insurers are paying claims, they’re losing money. Their loyalties lie with the insurance company side of things.

Confidential Communication

Everything you say to Garfinkel Schwartz is 100% confidential the moment that you contact our office. Whether you’re in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, China, Korea, Kuwait, the United States, Asia, Africa or the U.K., when you call Gdefense base act law firmarfinkel Schwartz, your words, e-mails and conversations remain with us and are not shared. The privacy that you deserve and require is respected by our entire team.

So when you call us from across the U.S. and around the world to ask about how to pursue health claims and financial benefits owed to you by employers’ insurance companies who are giving you hell, we keep it all to ourselves. Every detail and when and how your accidents, injuries and illnesses happened are important and confidential.

Garfinkel Schwartz handles Defense Base Act claims for injured civilian contractors around the world who are denied medical care and compensation after being hurt.


Defense Base Act Law Attorney Deposition Maitland FloridaLocated in Maitland, Florida and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Garfinkel Schwartz travels to clients across the country because DBA and Longshore cases are federal and you may choose a lawyer under the laws, which are paid for not by you, but by the employer and the employer’s insurance.

Garfinkel Schwartz has been helping injured civilian workers since 1987. We’ve concentrated our practice on this specific area of law because we have experience fighting insurance companies who deny claims to people solely to increase profits. Lead counsel Brian Wiklendt helps those needing a Defense Base Act Attorney and we accept Defesen Base Act clients from all over the United States and those who have employment activities and experiences and would like to file a Defense Base Act claim.

We Help Civilian Contractors

We help civilian contractors. All those men and women who bravely worked in war zones, hostile countries as contractors, subs, federal employees of U.S. military bases or for U.S. government Department of Defense in:defense base act law

  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Antarctica
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Iraq
  • Pakistan
  • Kuwait
  • Syria
  • The Middle East
  • North America
  • South America
  • Central America

We are skilled Defense Base Act Law attorney who focus on Defense Base Act Claims for Civilian Contractors. We work for Civilian Contractors Exposed to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. We work with contractors who have had limbs crushed or broken. We work with Civilian Contractors who have had Traumatic Brain Injuries from falls.

We work with civilian contractors who have been involved in IEDs. We work with clients who are experiencing PTSD. If you’ve been trying to complete and gather paperwork, call your insurance company who denied your medical care claim, are trying to recover from the hospital and have been denied surgery, prescriptions or treatments, let us fight for you.

What is the Defense Base Act?

Garfinkel Schwartz PA Defense Base Act AttorneyThe Defense Base Act was established in 1941 for injured overseas non-military workers.

The DBA is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act of 1927. The Defense Base Act (DBA) is to provide medical, disability or death benefits to U.S. government contract employees working overseas or their survivors.

Garfinkel Schwartz is committed to helping all civilian contractors who have been injured to secure the medical care, medical benefits, treatments, prescriptions, rehabilitation and the financial compensation owed under the Defense Base Act.

Defense Base Act cases can take place on any U.S. Government military base in a war zone or where U.S. Department of Defense Contractors may be hired.

Whether you are a first-, second- or third-party contractor working for the DoD, if you’re injured or become ill due to situations or circumstances on the job for the U.S. government in dangerous war zones you may have a case.

Don’t try to fight the insurers on your own. Your only job should be recover and take care of yourself and heal. Let us fight for you.

Defense Base Act Benefits 

Defense Base Act benefits include many things to help injured and sick civilian contractors from around the world. You don’t have to be a U.S. resident to be helped by the Defense Base Act.

You can choose any Defense Base Act attorney located anywhere because defense base act benefits include all legal fees. That means your DBA attorney will fly to you for all your case issues. You stay where you are and choose an attorney that has experience, who has proof of success in handling Defense Base Act cases and who you’re confident will fight for your case. Defense Base Act benefits include:

  • All attorneys fees are paid–you don’t pay a penny
  • Your choice of doctors
  • Defense Base Act Law is complexMedical benefits injuries or illnesses on the job
  • Compensation for total disability
  • Lawyers get ZERO of any of your settlements or benefits
  • Lawyers are paid to work cases whether you win or lose
  • Garfinkel Schwartz takes cases and clients we believe in

Who Administers the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act is administered by three government entities:

  • U. S. Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP)
  • Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC)

Why You Should Have a Defense Base Act Attorney

From September 2001 through June 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense compiled Defense Base Act Cases information from 2,800 defense contractors and according to the U.S. Department of Labor website, it reported 3,539 deaths.

Death Benefits

The Defense Base Act Law covers medical care, death benefits and compensation for civilian contractors working for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in Iraq  Afghanistan war zones and danger zones around the world. If a family member, a loved one, a relative or anyone you know was killed working in a danger zone, they may have been a civilian contractor working for a sub-contractor of the U.S. government.

Often, Third Country Nationals—men and women from third-world countries—are hired as cheap labor to work on or near U.S. military bases in danger and war zones. They may be skilled labor or unskilled labor from Turkey, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Phnom Penh, Asia, South America, Central America. These employees are people who are trying to make a living for their family and who go overseas to work and send the money home to the family.

The employers of Third Country Nationals are U.S. Department of Defense contractors & sub-contractors from the Middle East, Russia, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America & the U.S.

The employers—DoD contractors & “subs”—are paid by the U.S. Department of Defense. This means employees—Third Country Nationals—are covered by the Defense Base Act Law. While the employers are required to report deaths, not all of them know that they should. They may know that they should’ve reported the death but did not.

When Third Country Nationals are killed, die, become severely sick or are injured working dangerous DoD contractor and subs jobs they are potentially able to receive death benefits under the Defense Base Act. Many people do not know that they are eligible for medical care, compensation or death benefits. Spouses and children are eligible for benefits when a father or mother dies working for the U.S. Government in a danger zone.

Often, employers send Third Country Nationals home without explaining that they have rights to medical care, benefits & compensation. Sometimes employers know and sometimes they don’t know.

The reason it’s so complicated is that only a flowchart or a graph would be able to track and show who is working for whom. Other times it’s intentionally withheld information as deaths, injuries and illnesses on the job is not always monitored.

If someone you know has died working overseas in a war zone you may contact us 24 hours a day to ask questions. Please call 1-800-393-2999 or e-mail us, or if necessary write to us. Garfinkel Schwartz is here to help one family at a time.

Denied Medical Claims and Benefits

Civilian contractors are people who are hired by Department of Defense contractors who work alongside paid by the U.S. government to go where military troops are no longer present, or where they need additional bodies to help.

The Department of Defense contractors hire thousands of U.S. citizens to make up a large number of people hired to work overseas rebuilding, guarding, securing land and people in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Pakistan and Syria and other countries.

Every Contractor is Insured

Injured working in Afghanistan? DBA law covers youWhen a contractor is injured, the employer has purchased insurance on each employee to pay for the medical care and the worker’s compensation in case the employee was injured.

As soon as an employee is injured, in the eyes of the employers, the worker is a liability who may have to be paid for many many years and whose medical care, whose legal fees will have to be paid.

So the moment that you’re injured, or the minute that you hear that your loved one has been injured or is sick, contact a Defense Base Act attorney.

Don’t expect the best medical care. There are not doctors and nurses standing by to help and support. In a war zone, in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Syria, there may not be a friendly hospital nearby to provide the very necessary first medical care to the injured person.

The medical care may be as far away as another country if you’re hurt in Afghanistan. You may have to be flown to Germany or to Dubai. So as soon as possible, contact an attorney who will fight for the rights of your loved one. The experience and knowledge within this highly specified area of law should be the first thing asked of the attorney that is hired to fight for the medical care and workers comp that’s needed to provide for you, for your family.

For example, let’s say the defense contractors have five employees and it’s a third-world construction company. The contractor performed a $5 million dollar job to build a two-story condo, a kind of barracks built in Africa. They’ve got to hire other employees to work with them to complete the job which is incredibly difficult due to the working conditions.

Forms Are Only Available From Employers or Insurers

If you are hired, but you get injured, you will have to rely on this third-world company to tell you what your rights are under Defense Base Act lawyer Brian WiklendtAmerican law. Why? Because the U.S. government has hired them so they are governed by U.S. law. However, you’re in Africa.

Will you want to rely on this company to give you the appropriate forms. Do you think that they will? How can you be sure that they have? The answer is that without an attorney you can’t know. They don’t have break rooms, or human resources offices where the rights of employees under the Defense Base Act are hung on the walls.

Forms may not be downloaded from the website. Forms to file claims are held by the insurers and the employers.

Defense contract employees injured in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa are hired as linguists, security, construction, technology, laborers in many positions to rebuild, protect, and secure people and lands destroyed by war. These shadow civilian staff are hired to step in where the U.S. military has stepped out, or where the U.S. military is stationed. Civilian contractors are the silent workforce providing support that is never seen or heard of.

Many civilian contractors are injured, or get sick, or  encounter dangerous and deadly situations they are also being denied Defense Base Act medical claims and benefits by the insurance companies who have been paid millions in premiums. Defense contractors are required to pay premiums on every civilian contractor hired.

Whether you live in North America, Florida, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, California, Seoul, Bangkok, Novi Sad, India, Michigan, Brazil; if you are a civilian contractor, you should know the Defense Base Act. If you want help understanding it or if you need a Defense Base Act attorney, consult with Garfinkel Schwartz. We look forward to hearing from you.

What Does the Defense Base Act Cover?

If you're hurt working for defense contractors overseasThe Defense Base Act is a law that mandates employers provide medical, disability and death benefits to employees injured or killed during employment with defense contractors hired by the U.S. Government.

Permanent total disability and death benefits may be payable to you for life, and are subject to annual cost of living adjustments. Death benefits are half an employee’s average weekly earnings to the surviving spouse or to one child, and two-thirds of earnings for two or more survivors up to the current maximum weekly rate.

Compensation for total disability is two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly earnings, up to a weekly maximum payable for partial loss of earnings. Garfinkel Schwartz is here ready to help one family at a time.