We are Florida and nationwide Defense Base Act (DBA) Lawyers who represent injured contractors across the United States. Van Riper & Nies relies on personal attention, hard work, and dedication to bring justice to private military contractors. Our Defense Base Act lawyer, Tim Nies, a former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger with the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, is uniquely qualified and experienced in representing injured civilian contractors under the Defense Base Act at the Department of Labor and the Office of Administrative Law Judges.
A Veteran DBA Lawyer
Our DBA Lawyer, Tim Nies, sustained a line-of-duty injury during a parachute mission with the 75th Ranger Regiment. He underwent months of rehabilitation but unfortunately was unable to stay in the Ranger Regiment due to his injury. Soon after being medically discharged, Tim attended law school on the GI bill.
As a disabled veteran, Tim knows what it’s like to sustain and heal from a life-changing injury. He considers himself fortunate: after his injury, the U.S. Army and then the Veterans Administration took care of him.
Tim understands that not everyone is that lucky; military contractors, who are often seriously injured, are usually sent back to the US with no compensation and no medical care. Tim believes that everyone who is injured fighting for the US deserves help, and he tenaciously fights for those who haven’t received the remuneration and care they have earned.
The Defense Base Act: What You Need to Know
In 1940, the United States began building and expanding military bases overseas in preparation for the growing possibility of war with Japan and Germany. To make sure that the American civilians working overseas had coverage for injuries, the US Congress created the Defense Base Act, which was passed in 1941.
The law, intended as a temporary measure for World War II, was only 2,000 words long. Essentially, the Defense Base Act said that contractors working overseas had to purchase insurance similar to that required by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (passed in 1927).
In modern times, civilian military contractors have played a critical role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve delivered supplies, fuel, and water to frontline troops; guarded US diplomats; and translated for soldiers and marines in treacherous raids. Between these two war zones, more than 1,400 civilian workers have died and 32,000 have been wounded or injured.
In accordance with the US Defense Base Act, these civilian contractors, both Americans, and foreigners, are to receive workers’ compensation benefits, including medical care and DBA compensation. However, civilian workers who suffered devastating injuries while supporting the US war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq often come home to a grinding battle for basic medical care, artificial limbs, psychological counseling, and other necessary services. These civilians have to fight a federally supervised insurance system marked by high costs and excessive delays.
Our Defense Base Act Law Approach
Van Riper & Nies Defense Base Act lawyer Tim Nies knows how to find all possible avenues of compensation for your injury, and he is not afraid to take on major companies and DBA insurers like AIG, Starr Indemnity, Allied World, Broadspire, and Gallagher Bassett to get the job done. Tim Nies, is aggressive and proactive in his fight against DBA insurance companies that regularly and wrongfully deny the claims of his injured clients. Tim has got your six.
Tim Nies also understands that if you were injured overseas for a company under a US government contract, compensation under the Defense Base Act may not be your only recourse. In some instances, a contractor, a weapons or machinery manufacturer, or another entity other than your employer shares responsibility. We will pursue all responsible persons or entities on your behalf to ensure that you receive everything you’re entitled to.
The best time to hire a Defense Base Act lawyer is while you are still overseas so that you know what to ask for before leaving and what documents to obtain. For instance, the medical records, pay records, witness names, and more. Soon after you are injured overseas, the DBA insurance companies and third-party administrators, such as Gallagher Bassett, Broadspire, and AIG will be calling you to complete questionnaires and give recorded statements. Do not agree to these without first speaking with a DBA attorney.
The same goes for IMEs (independent medical evaluations), FCEs (functional capacity evaluations), vocational interviews, and more. It is important to speak with a Defense Base Act Law attorney for free before agreeing to any of these evaluations. The results of these evaluations may mean the difference between a fair and an unfair DBA settlement.
DBA attorney Tim Nies represents injured contractors before the Department of Labor and Office of Administrative Law Judges throughout Florida, and worldwide, at all stages of DBA claims, from the initial filing, mediation, and at the Office of Administrative Law Judge formal hearing.
It is expected that during the reconstruction of Ukraine, the Defense Base Act may apply to workers injured during the reconstruction. For more information on the DBA and Ukraine’s reconstruction, see the article of DBA lawyer Tim Nies.