jump to navigation

Who can I choose as my doctor under the Defense Base Act? March 15, 2009

Posted by Aaron Walter in Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,
13 comments

This is a question I am not asked frequently enough. The answer is simple – under the Defense Base Act you can choose any qualified physician under the sun to treat your injuries. That is a flexibility not offered under most state workers’ compensation systems. For instance, in the State of Georgia, where our office is located, you would only have a choice from a list of doctors your employer posts at your work place. Under the Defense Base Act, depending on the type of injury you suffered, if the doctor you choose is a licensed surgeon, podiatrist, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, osteopath, or chiropractor, then you have made a valid initial choice of physician.

 The reason why I am not asked this question very often, is that most injured contractors only contact an attorney AFTER something has gone wrong with their case, like that their benefits are stopped or reduced or a medical procedure is denied or delayed. One reason why this is unfortunate is that while you have amazing flexibility in choosing an initial physician, those same rules limit your ability to change doctors.

If your first choice of physician refers you to some other specialist, for instance a family doctor who refers you to a orthopedic specialist for a back problem, the insurance company must honor that referral. Also, if your doctor retires, you can choose a new one.

However, outside of those situations, you are pretty much stuck with your first choice. Once a claimant has made his initial, “free choice” of a physicians, he may change physicians only upon obtaining prior written approval of the employer, insurer, or the Department of Labor. It is likely that if you do not like your doctor or what he is telling you, the insurance company probably loves him.

(more…)

What rights does the Defense Base Act provide for those with severe bodily injuries? March 13, 2009

Posted by Aaron Walter in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
17 comments

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have introduced a new range of injuries to standard workers’ compensation – IED attacks, Al Queada rocket attacks, and other war related dangers have resulted in unthinkable internal and external damage, traumatic brain injuries, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Most of the injuries we see coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan are actually of the same nature that we see here in employment in the states – knee injuries like torn knee ligaments or miniscus, shoulder injuries, usually torn rotator cuffs, and back injuries like herniated (slipped), or extruded (ruptured) discs. The human body is fragile and unfortunately there are a select few parts of our bodies that tend to give out under the right/wrong conditions.

Sadly, the dangers of war have introduced new kinds of physical trauma to a system typically reserved for more common problems.  It is important to note that any injured contractor is entitled to:

(more…)

The Department of Defense may be pondering changes in Defense Base Act coverage March 11, 2009

Posted by Aaron Walter in Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,
12 comments

According to a recent Department of Defense posting, it is seeking comments concerning the future of the Defense Base Act insurance system, which in case you are new to this blog, is a workers’ compensation that covers civilian employees working for companies contracting overseas through the Department of Defense.

For now they are seeking input from the insurance industry and from major defense contractors. Eight possibilities for the future of the Defense Base Act have been proposed, but the DoD is open to other alternative recommendations:

(more…)

1,264 civilian contractors have died in Iraq/Afghanistan according to most recent figures March 10, 2009

Posted by Aaron Walter in Uncategorized.
Tags: ,
2 comments

That total is according to Pentagon figures released in September 2008. Sadly, that number rises weekly and the AP has reported another death, a Dyncorp employee shot by a sniper. We reported last spring that the death toll of government contractors had just surpassed 1,000. I hate that the first updated total of this grim statistic had to come in yet another story of a young man cut down in his prime. Our prayers are with Justin Pope’s family and the families of all those who have lost a loved one in these wars.

Below is the AP report:

(more…)

Iraq veteran disabled by “Iraq’s Agent Orange” due to exposure to hexavalent chromium March 9, 2009

Posted by Aaron Walter in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
5 comments

The March 7, 2009 issue of the “Oregonian” tells the tale of Oregon Army National Guardsman Larry Roberta, who sadly suffers from a host of respitory disorders due to his 2003 exposure to hexavalent chromium in Iraq.

Six years later, and after law suits have been filed against KBR for their alleged failure to test for the substance at a contaminated oil facility, the Army has finally notified Guardsman Roberta’s fellow soldiers that they too may have been exposed to the same toxic chemicals.

We don’t yet know what will come of Larry Roberta and his fellow soldiers. How many other soldiers, contractors, or Iraqi civilians will develop similar lung disorders?

Unfortunately, this is not the only reported case of respitory disfunction to come out of Iraq or Afghanistan. On top of the fact that the dusty/sandy environment contributes to lung problems amongst asthmatics or those with COPD, there are fears that practices such as having large “Burn pits” at or close to camps may contribute to some disorders.

(more…)

Is the Anaconda burn pit linked to illnesses in KBR contractors? March 7, 2009

Posted by Aaron Walter in Uncategorized.
Tags: ,
4 comments

I have been receiving an increasing number of calls recently from former KBR contractors, especially from Camp Anaconda/Balad concerning unusual medical problems possibly associated with exposure to the “burn pits,” disturbingly common to the camps. Apparently, anything that burns ends up thrown in these burn pits. That includes medical waste and plastics.

For more on the burn pits themselves and the action or inaction by Congress and the military concerning them, please visit the burn pit tag page by Ms. Sparky, who has been on top of this situation for some time.

(more…)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.