What is a scheduled injury and how is it different from a non-scheduled injury? Defense Base Act Lawyer Brian Wiklendt explains that a scheduled injury has a fairly clear beginning and an end. While it’s often horrible, and may affect your ability to function, and changes your life drastically, it is considered to be a set event that when complete, is done.
What is a Scheduled Injury?
A scheduled injury is a clear loss through injury. For example, if you have an injury that is clearly defined, say the loss of an arm, an amputated limb, or an eye, and there’s a clear beginning and end to the injury, you have a “scheduled” injury.
What is An Non-Scheduled Injury?
If you have an injury related to the head, or like conditions associated with the brain, such as post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, or damage to the neck or spine, that would be considered “non-scheduled.” There’s not a clear beginning or an end to the injury, pain, issues. The damage may be permanent and need lifelong medical care.
A non-scheduled injury is subject to different and usually larger payment awards. Generally speaking, non-scheduled injuries are more serious and often are permanent.
Civilian contractors can have the same injuries as soldiers serving in the military if they’re working in a war zone. Contractors perform important work overseas including roles as:
- Tech experts
- Communications specialists
- Construction and rebuild
- Supplies transport
- Security and protection
- Logistic support
Contractors are often former military with high security clearances who become contractors working alongside the military. Civilian contractors carry out duties that bring them into immediate danger with a very high potential for injury.
Know Before You Go
However, even if you receive health care, you should have an attorney–not an insurance company–explain your rights to full coverage under the Defense Base Act.
Military contractors are covered under the Defense Base Act Law, in short and to make it understandable, the DBA is like an extension of federal workers’ compensation program. For the purposes of compensation and how DBA disability awards are made, injuries fall into the categories of scheduled and non-scheduled injuries.
Most Injuries are Non-Scheduled
The sad truth is that many of the injuries sustained in conflict zones are non-scheduled. For example, a study published in The Journal of Surgical Orthopedic Advances in the fall of 2014 looked at 450 U.S. soldiers who were discharged for medical reasons.
Fourteen percent of them had at least one spinal-cord injury. Ten of those soldiers had “complete” spinal-cord injuries, meaning there was total loss of sensation and paralysis below the level of the injury, and 20% also had a psychological condition that made the ability to work even more difficult.
Unfortunately, these types of non-scheduled injuries happen to contractors but without the aid or support provided by the Veterans Administration for follow-up care as with military injuries. Instead, after an injury, each contractor is forced to rely on the insurance company representative who shows up at the hospital when the injury occurs.
While a contractor may call the family for help when injured and to let them know what’s happened, he or she may be seriously injured and have to get medical care without a representative from the family to help ensure the very best care.
The best care is what’s provided under the Defense Base Act. So choose an attorney before you go to be the point person to direct the specific medical wishes that you want with the proper forms taken overseas on every job.
Talk to and engage an attorney before you go just in case as a backup to all your carefully planned backup plans. There will be a chain of communication and process in place so that your rights, your medical are respected.
Civilian contractors who are injured on the job are eligible for medical treatment, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation and death benefits for surviving spouses and children. But they often have to fight with insurers to get the benefits they are due.
A disability in economic terms is defined as having an inability to earn the same amount of wages as before an injury. The condition may be such that you either cannot return to employment at all or your ability to return to full-time work or the same job as before has been diminished. Disability payments can be up to two-thirds of what someone’s prior weekly wage was before the injury, for life.
The sometimes lengthy process of categorizing disabilities and determining whether and the extent to which injured contractors can return to work, are good reasons why contractors need experienced attorneys like Brian Wiklendt who know Defense Base Act law. And if you don’t talk with Brian, that’s OK. But talk to another DBA lawyer who has clients overseas and knows the processes for post injury scenarios.
It’s important to know what your rights are under the law and to work with people who will protect your interests. Finding an attorney before you go overseas and if you get injured will help you make sure that you’re taken care if anything should happen.
In the unfortunate event that you, a civilian contractor are injured, after you undertake your job, you will need an attorney to explain the complicated process of trying to obtain insurance coverage for medical treatments and other expenses IF they have been denied. And especially if you’re in a third-world country during a world conflict.
Brian Wiklendt is an attorney with Garfield Schwartz law firm in Maitland, Florida who represents clients throughout the country. Talk with Brian just by calling the office. He calls you back to find out what’s happening in your situation.