Overseas Contractors and Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you have been injured working for a contractor in the United States, you can typically seek benefits through a state workers’ compensation program. But what are your options if you are employed overseas by an American contractor? What are the steps you need to take to protect your interests after a work-related accident?
The Protection of Employees Injured Overseas
In 1927, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act was passed, providing an avenue for injured workers overseas to pursue benefits for job-related injuries. The LHWCA was created to provide protection to dock workers and other maritime workers not covered by the Jones Act. In 1941, Congress enacted the Defense Base Act (DBA), extending the coverage provided by the LHWCA to U.S. government contractors in foreign lands.
The DBA offers extensive coverage, providing benefits to:
- Anyone working on a public contract with any American government agency
- Anyone working for a private employer on a U.S. military base, or on land used for military purposes outside of the United States
- Anyone providing services outside of the United States to a service organization, such as the United Service Organization (USO)
- Employees on projects funded under the Foreign Assistance Act
- Employees of subcontractors on any of the work listed above
If you have been injured as an employee of a U.S. contractor overseas, you must provide immediate notice of your injury to your supervisor. To recover compensation, you must also submit your claim for compensation to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. This should be done within one year of your injury. If your injury prevents you from working, you are eligible for compensation for lost wages, calculated as an average weekly wage (your total income for the last calendar year divided by 52). Benefits will be paid until you are able to return to work. If you cannot return in the same capacity, your employer has an obligation to look for suitable alternative opportunities for you. You may also be entitled to a scheduled award, based on the nature and permanency of your injuries.
Contact Uliase & Uliase
At Uliase & Uliase, we offer full-service legal counsel to employees of overseas contractors who have been injured on the job. For a private meeting, contact us online or call us at 856-310-9002. Our offices are open weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Even if we don’t take your case, we will only charge a $35 consultation fee, and will waive the fee for certain union members.