A Guide To Filing a PTSD Claim Under The Defense Base Act 
Filing a PTSD claim under the DBA is plenty stressful, especially for those civilian contract employees unaware of Department of Labor's filing requirements and proper paperwork. Let our guide help you to understand the the filing process of a PTSD claim under the Defense Base Act to make you ability to obtain compensation easier.
In 2022, much like 2021, there are countless civilian contractors that have not yet filed claims under the Defense Base Act for injuries suffered while employed for government contractors in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other warzones. These federal employees performed a wide range of services, from construction and security to food service and waste management. One of the most common types of injuries that civilian contractors can suffer is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. PTSD can make it difficult for people to function in their everyday lives.
On this page you'll learn how to file a PTSD claim in 2022, whether you qualify for benefits, and what to expect throughout the DBA claim process. If you need immediate assistance, contact Defense Base Act Lawyer Niles Sneed and his team today.
What to do before filing a Defense Base Act claim
Before you file a Defense Base Act Claim, you should learn whether you have the proper documents supporting your claim of injury. An attorney experienced in helping injured workers obtain workers’ compensation protection can review medical records supporting your claim to evaluate the potential success of your claim.
How do I file a PTSD under the Defense Base Act?
To start the process of filing a PTSD claim under the Defense Base Act, you need to prepare and file the claim with the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC). A PTSD claim must be supported by evidence and documents showing the following:
Your worked as a civilian contractor overseas on a U.S. military base
You were diagnosed with PTSD and the required treatment
Your injuries were caused by your employment or time spent on base
Any evidence that you are unable to return to work based on your psychological condition
Once your claim is filed, an an insurance adjuster will contact you, or if you're represented by counsel, they will contact your legal representative. Adjusters often seems compassionate or overly helpful, but, don't be fooled, their goal is a pay a small and nominal insurance pay our for your injuries. With PTSD, when claimants aren't represented they often deny your claim immediately, forcing an appeal of the decision. If you beneficial to have a DBA attorney file the PTSD claim for you.
Can I file a compensation claim without without an attorney?
Although it is not advised, a federal employee can file their own PTSD claim by filing the LS-201 form (Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death). This form is required whenever an employee intends to report an occupational injury or illness. The information contained on the firm is used to determine a claimant's entitlement to benefits.
Where do I file the Defense Base Act claim?
You can file a Defense Base Act claim by either mailing the LS-201 Form to the US. Department of Labor, or uploading your completed form to the SEAPortal directly.
If you choose to mail the form, the OWPC Central Mailing address is:
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
Division of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
400 West Bay Street, Suite 63A, Box 28
Jacksonville, FL 32202
What happens when a claim is denied by a carrier?
If your PTSD claim is denied by the insurance carrier of your employer, you may be wondering what happens next. The first thing you should do is get in touch with an experienced DBA attorney who can help you navigate the appeals process. If your claim is denied by the Department of Labor (DOL), you have the right to file a notice of appeal with the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ). You must do this within 30 days of receiving the denial notice. After your appeal has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled where you can present your case. If the OALJ judge denies your appeal, you can then file a petition for review with the Benefits Review Board (BRB). The BRB is composed of three judges who will review the record from your hearing and make a decision on your case. If the BRB denies your appeal, you can then file a claim in federal court. Having an experienced DBA attorney by your side at each stage of the appeals process is critical to ensuring that your rights are protected.
What benefits can I receive through a successful DBA claim?
The Defense Base Act (DBA) provides workers' compensation benefits for civilian employees in the form of medical and disability benefits, as well as death benefits. Employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work on a DBA-covered contract are eligible for medical benefits, which will pay for all necessary and reasonable medical expenses related to the injury or illness. If an employee is unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness, they may be eligible for disability benefits, which will provide a percentage of their pre-injury wages. In the event of an employee's death, their survivors may be eligible for death benefits, which will provide a lump sum payment. The DBA is a vital source of protection for employees working on overseas government contracts, and it provides them with peace of mind in knowing that they and their families will be taken care of if something happens.
How long does it take to receive a PTSD settlement through the Defense Base Act?
After receiving a claim, the insurance carrier then has 10 days to accept or deny the PTSD claim. If the claim is accepted, benefits will begin to flow within 30 days. However, if the claim is denied, injured workers can appeal the decision to OWCP. Once a claim is denied, it generally takes 6 to 9 months for a claim to settle with the assistance of an attorney.
What is the average settlement value of a PTSD claim?
The average PTSD settlement value of claims handles by our Defense Base Act Lawyers ranges from $150,000 to $250,000 for civilian contractors from the United States. Oftentimes, claimants receive more or less than this common range, with some settlements exceeding $500,000. If you have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of your work on a DBA project, the settlement value of your claim will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your symptoms, the length of time you have been suffering from PTSD, and the impact your condition has had on your ability to work and function in daily life. An experienced attorney can help you obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
How long do I have to file a PTSD Claim?
For PTSD claims, there is no specific time limit for filing a claim, but it is generally best to do so as soon as possible after detecting that you suffer from emotional distress. PTSD claims take months or even years to develop. As a result, an experienced Defense Base Act attorney is often able to successfully prove that you suffered a "delayed onset" of PTSD. Through use of your psychologist records your attorney must prove that the emotional stress condition is linked to an event that occurred during your time employer for the government contractor on a defense contract.