Van Riper & Nies relies on personal attention, hard work, and dedication to bring justice to private military contractors. Our trial lawyers—Tim Nies, a former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, is uniquely qualified and experienced in representing injured civilian contractors under the Defense Base Act.
A Veteran 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 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. He 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, it 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. 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.
Van Riper & Nies knows how to find all possible avenues of compensation for your injury, and we are not afraid to take on major companies and insurers like Chartis and CNA to get the job done. Our trial lawyer, Tim Nies, is aggressive and proactive in his fight against insurance companies that regularly and wrongfully deny the claims of his injured clients.
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.