An extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the Defense Base Act (DBA) provides much-needed medical and financial benefits to the injured employees of U.S. government contractors working overseas.
Just the same, injured workers are often unsure of what they need to do to protect their interests after an injury. One of the biggest mysteries workers face is what they need to do to get the medical care they need after something happens. Here are a three tips:
- Report your injury immediately to your supervisor.
This makes it clear that you’re injured, and that the injury is work-related. While you can (and probably should) verbally tell your supervisor about the incident and your injuries, make sure that you follow up with an email, text message or some other form of written communication that restates the same information.
That way, you have time-stamped proof that you reported your injuries in a timely fashion. That may be all you need to shut down any allegations from the insurance company that you didn’t report the claim or weren’t injured on the job.
- Get immediate medical authorization from your employer.
In an emergency, you don’t have to wait for your employer to authorize treatment. You can simply head to the nearest hospital, clinic or doctor – although you should still report your injury to your employer as soon as practical.
If it isn’t an emergency, ask your employer for authorization for treatment. Anticipate your employer’s offer to direct you to a specific physician or practice and politely insist on seeing the doctor of your choice. (Going to a “company doctor” tends to put the focus on the company’s needs, not your own.)
- Keep copies of all your medical records.
It’s always wise to keep copies (electronic, paper or both) of your medical records as you go, particularly if there’s a chance that you may need to be repatriated for medical care. You don’t want important documentation of your claim to go missing. Photos of your records in an online DropBox could be invaluable later.
There’s a lot of pressure and anxiety on injured workers, especially if their DBA claim isn’t going well. Experienced legal guidance can help bring your claim to a successful close.