A Simple Explanation of the Defense Base Act Law
I’m Brian Wiklendt, I’m lead counsel with Maitland, Florida, Defense Base Act law firm Garfinkel Schwartz.
I’d like to walk you through the Defense Base Act so that you can better understand the law that protects private military contractors.
What I’ll do is walk you thorough the law and explain it in everyday language so that it’s clear. If you still have questions please feel free to call and ask us. We get calls from around the world on our 24-7 phone line. We will get back to you personally to answer questions. 1-800-393-2999.
I’m explaining the parts of the Defense Base Act Law in sections so that it’s a little eaiser to understand.
The Start of the Defense Base Act
The Defense Base Act is basically three pages long. It was passed in 1941. It’s titled an Act to provide compensation for disability or death to persons employed at military air and Naval Bases outside the United States.
Section One of the Defense Base Act
Who is Covered?
And that such person under the contract is working outside the United States and that basically the reason for this coverage and this provision is that if you were working in the United States for a company and you were injured you would have the rights and benefits due you under your state’s worker’s compensations rights and statutes.
Overseas Worker’s Compensation
So if you’re injured in Florida working under a contract or working for any employer with a certain amount of employees (over 50) you would be covered by and you would receive state worker’s compensation.
These employees that are engaged overseas, that are not a part of the continental United States do not have that provision. They don’t have any state worker’s compensation rights or worker’s comp benefits.
So back when contracts were being done and the government was working overseas in World War II, the federal government saw that these people working had no benefits when they got injured.
Because they were working as contractors, but not in the United States, this law was enacted to provide protections for those people that would be of benefit to them.
That this law would act as a stopgap provision to allow and afford people under these contracts who were injured, some sort of benefits. It provided some medical indemnity benefits that they wouldn’t otherwise have without this act being in place.
U.S. Govt. Subcontractors Covered
So basically if you are under a contract or your employer is engaged in a subcontract with a subcontractor of the U.S. government, whether that be any of the divisions of the government, any military operation—United States operation—or any other authorized contractor of the United States government in any fashion and you’re injured overseas, you’re governed by the Defense Base Act.