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Does Your Lawyer Know Defense Base Act Law?

Hi I’m Brian Wiklendt I’m lead trial counsel for Garfinkel Schwartz, I’m coming to you today from the Maitland Florida office outside of Orlando Florida. We also have an office in Titusville Florida on the space coast. You can watch a video on “Does Your Lawyer Know Defense Base Act Law?” on our Garfinkel Schwartz YouTube channel.

Football Player Shoots Himself

I’m sure a lot of you out there are familiar with Plaxico Burress wide receiver. We enjoyed his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers but then he went to the New York Giants. When he was with the Giants if you haven’t already heard this story, Plaxico went to a nightclub, happened to have a gun in his sweat pants and when he was jiggling for his keys or whatever he was doing he ended up shooting himself in the thigh.

Constitutional Law for Protection

So a scenario that could have happened actually would be such Plaxico is in the jail, the New York jail, wondering what he did and why he was in jail. And if he wanted to take a look on his own and try to figure out what the law was that he violated, he might do something like open up the United States constitution, sometimes they have them there, he might look at the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment he would read to himself: a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

You’d Think He Would Get Out

Well if you’re Plaxico and you read that and that’s the law of the land and that’s the supreme being of the land of the United States constitution. You would say, no problem, I’m going to get out of jail here pretty soon somebody’s going to come get me, no problem. Well Plaxico ended up serving two years in prison for all the gun laws he violated in New York.

State Laws Vary Interpretation of Federal Law

And the reason that this doesn’t apply necessarily is because the gun laws in New York don’t abide just by the United States Constitution there are thousands of court cases on gun control laws. And all 50 states have their own statutes. And he violated New York statutes and he violated a lot of versions of it and he went to jail for two years.

DBA Law Varies by Interpretation

The same thing holds true of the Defense Base Act. When you finally figure out that you’re under the Defense Base Act, and your injured and you’re trying to figure it out on your own, it’s funny because the Defense Base Act is only three pages long. It’s kind of like the United States constitution. Three pages long it tells you what this and that, this and there, but the problem with that is there’s a thing called the Code of Federal Regulations.

Thousands of Federal Regulations

And a lot of people haven’t even heard of that. But what that is there are basically hundreds of regulations that are attached to the Defense Base Act and the Longshore act that actually interpret the law. Kind of like all the cases that interpret the constitution. What that means is that if you really want to know what your rights were under the Defense Base Act and you read it, you would have to read upwards of a thousand code of Federal regulations. There are also thousands of federal cases that interpret the Defense Base Act. There are also different segments of the United States in terms of circuits and judges in different circuits interpret the law different ways.

Florida Law Differs From Other State Law

So you might think you know the law in Florida, but if a person lives in Florida, it would be completely different based on the case law, the Federal case law out there and be completely different: more conservative, less conservative, in any region of the United States that you’re in.

Don’t DIY your DBA Defense

So instead of doing your own research, what I suggest because our service under the federal law is that you don’t pay the lawyer for any of their services: the insurance company or your employer does if I get you benefits.

All We Do is Defense Base Act Law

It would be to your benefit to have a law firm that only works on these thousands of items every day, full time, Garfinkel Schwartz, it’s all that we do. So if you don’t hire me as a lawyer, I would highly recommend that you do hire a lawyer but don’t hire a lawyer that doesn’t know what they’re doing in terms of Federal Workers Compensation type issues under the Defense Base Act. Again, Brian signing off from the Maitland office, I hope to talk to you again soon.