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Employee and employer responsibilities under the Defense Base Act

The Defense Base Act is a federal workers' compensation insurance program that covers employees who work overseas for U.S. government contractors and subcontractors. 

What are an employee's responsibilities under the Defense Base Act? What are the employer's responsibilities? We will answer those questions in this post.

Employee's responsibilities under the Defense Base Act

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an employee's responsibilities include:

  • If you are injured, report the injury as soon as possible to the employer
  • Request authorization for medical treatment (you can choose your medical providers, but medical care must be approved in advance)
  • Cooperate with your employer and the insurance company in the investigation of your injury
  • When asked, provide documents and medical reports to the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP)
  • Attend medical examinations that are requested by the employer, the insurance company or the OWCP's district director
  • Complete earnings reports, when requested
  • File a claim for compensation within deadlines

Employer's responsibilities under the Defense Base Act

  • Obtain Defense Base Act insurance before employees are deployed overseas
  • Post notice to employees regarding the Defense Base Act
  • Explain to employees how to report injuries
  • File an injury report within 10 days of receiving notice of the injury or death
  • Report the injury or death to the insurance company
  • Authorize medical care when requested
  • Provide earnings reports, medical reports and other relevant documents to the OWCP when requested
  • Help employees or survivors file claims for benefits

Do you have questions about the Defense Base Act?

Employers and insurance carriers do not always support the employee's best interests. If you have been injured while working overseas for a U.S. government contractor or subcontractor, contact an experienced DBA attorney for help.

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