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What rehabilitation services does the DBA offer?

Overseas defense base contractors are at high risk of sustaining severe injuries. Though some injured workers may be able to continue work, others aren't as fortunate. Though the Defense Base Act does provide compensation for potentially permanent disabilities, many injured people worry about the future.

Thankfully, the DBA offers vocational rehabilitation services. These programs help permanently disabled workers learn new skills that can help them get new jobs. Defense base workers and their loved ones should know what these services are.

4 benefits available for maritime workers with impaired senses

The damages that a maritime worker could receive on the job could have lifelong consequences. Despite this, there are workers who are able to find jobs while learning to cope with their disability.

However, some conditions are harder to recover from than others. Many maritime employees are at risk of losing or significantly damaging their hearing or their vision on the job, either through an accident or poor working conditions. It can be difficult to find work for these people afterwards, so workers and their loved ones should be aware of how the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) can help.

Can claims be filed under the LHWCA and the Jones Act?

Suffering a serious work-related injury often comes with a significant recovery period. During that time, an injured worker here in Louisiana or elsewhere will incur medical expenses and lose income. If a full recovery is not possible, then other financial losses could occur well into the future. Seeking compensation for those financial losses is not quite as simple for seaman and marine workers. Instead, they rely on the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, respectively, but it is not always clear which act applies to a certain worker's circumstances.

The differentiation between a marine worker and a seaman is an integral one when it comes to filing complaints against employers for benefits. In some cases, it is clear which role a particular Louisiana resident falls into, but that is not always the case. In fact, courts have upheld claims brought under both acts by injured workers under certain circumstances.

What is the Defense Base Act? Does it apply to you?

Many companies here in Louisiana and elsewhere in the country have government contracts. If your employer is one of them, you may find that you have the opportunity to work and live in another country. When you do, you may wonder what happens if you suffer a work-related injury. Instead of applying for workers' compensation benefits, you would look to the Defense Base Act.

The act covers many of the same benefits that you would receive from the Louisiana workers' compensation system. Your medical bills and lost income would be covered under the act. In addition, if you need rehabilitation or ongoing care for a disability, you may receive coverage as well. These benefits cover a variety of on-the-job injuries ranging from occupational hearing loss, back injuries and psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act changes

Louisiana dockworkers, oil rig workers and others may not realize that the amount of compensation varies that they can obtain for injuries suffered on the job. Each year, the U.S. Department of Labor must make adjustments to the benefits available under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. These changes are made in order to ensure that those receiving compensation under the act obtain an amount that they can actually live on.

These changes occur every Oct. 1 and remain in effect through Sept. 30 of the following year. The Secretary of Labor reviews the average weekly income across the country through June 30 in order to determine what adjustments are necessary to the minimum and maximum amounts injured workers may obtain under the act. For this year, the national average weekly wage (NAWW) was determined to be $755.38.

When is an employer violating the DBA?

The Defense Base Act (DBA) is an essential compensation program for longshoremen and harbor workers. Companies that hire people to work at defense bases overseas must ensure that their workers are aware of the program and how to acquire coverage from it in the event of an emergency.

With how much of an impact this law has had on the industry, employers have no excuse to violate the law in an attempt to save money or prevent the worker from getting the coverage they need. The United States Department of Labor notes that the employer will be primarily liable in how the Act is carried out, so workers need to keep an eye out for the following signs that their company could be violating the law:

Many jobs on a ship could be the cause of hearing loss

There are moments when those from here in Louisiana get the view of a lifetime on board the ship they work on. Just the noise of the water, the stars and the salty breeze in a quiet corner can often make a rough day worthwhile. However, over time, some of those workers may no longer be able to enjoy the sounds of the water due to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) caused by their jobs.

Hearing can easily be damaged by exposure to dangerously loud and prolonged noises. Even short bursts of these loud noises on a routine basis could damage an individual's hearing. In many cases, the loss is not noticed right away. It could take months or even years of exposure for the full extent of the damage to occur. Workers could begin to notice that they cannot quite make out the words another person is saying even though they can hear them talking.

How do death benefits work for the LHWCA?

Friends and family members of Louisiana maritime workers prefer not to think about the possibility that their loved ones might not make it back home one night. Unfortunately, these are high-risk environments that could lead to severe injuries or fatal diseases.

If you are a close family member of a maritime contractor or oil rig worker, you should learn about your eligibility for Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) benefits. As difficult as it is to think about, knowing how these benefits work can help you financially recover from tragedy.

Back injuries often happen the same way no matter where you work

Working on the vessels that navigate the country's waters from here in Louisiana can provide one with a unique work experience that he or she may never get anywhere else. However, that does not mean that workers do not have anything in common with people who work on land. The back injuries they suffer, for instance, probably end up happening in the same way as on land and are just as debilitating.

If a worker's job on a navigable vessel involves lifting objects and otherwise handling any materials that require the use of his or her back, that worker could end up suffering a back injury. Moreover, many of the duties vessel workers perform are repetitive, and if they involve the use of the back, workers may find themselves going home at the end of the day with a backache that never seems to go away. Musculoskeletal injuries happen far more often than anyone realizes since many people simply accept their back pain as part of the job.

How is compensation determined for the Defense Base Act?

Determining the rate for workers’ compensation can be difficult for any workplace injury. The employer and insurance company typically base it different variables such as the severity of the damage, the worker’s salary and who was responsible for the accident.

While the Defense Base Act (DBA) still varies based upon the accident’s circumstances, it is slightly more straightforward than other careers as most severe injuries often have a set amount no matter if you are working the docks in Louisiana or Iraq. If you want to be able to calculate how this affects your annual earnings, you should know the standard process.

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