We’ve all been plagued by work concerns at one time another. When will there be enough time to finish my work? Where are the hours to do all this work? Perhaps the worst concern one can have revolves around work injuries. What will happen if I get injured? Many of us feel assured that we will receive compensation for our pains. Some occupations though feature such hazards that the fear of being injured at work is paralyzing. Harbor workers and longshoremen work unique jobs and now have federal protection to ensure their rights to compensation.
The Defense of Base Act (DBA)was put into action to protect maritime workers’ compensation. It draws from several laws before it, which were meant to ensure the rights of maritime workers. The first significant act regarding compensation for maritime claims was the Jones act workers compensation; however, it failed miserably to guarantee workers their rights. Many employers refused to pay their workers compensation and the act was not enforced. The longshore harbor workers compensation act that appeared decades later had similar aims in ensuring that maritime claims were handled justly and had considerably more success than the Jones Act.
The importance of longshoremen and harbor workers has increased in the past years, as the United States has found itself entrenched in several wars. In recent years, maritime workers have found themselves in close proximity to war zones, increasing the importance of maritime claims. In recent years, the expatriate compensation act awarded compensation to those who have worked out of their home country for extended periods of time. This is a highly relevant law as, in 2011, over half of the department of Defense’s Afghanistan and Iraq workforce consisted of contractors.
The DBA boasts two unique qualities. It offers death benefits to those who qualify and it is considered ‘claimant friendly’. From 2011 to 2012, the OWCP (Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs) placed the national weekly pay rate at $647.60. Should a worker fall ill or die from work injuries, such wages may not cover recovery or funeral expenses. The DBA offers up to $3,000 for funeral expenses and also offers families survivor benefits. It is a small consolation to know that, should one be killed on duty, their loved ones will not struggle with the finances of a funeral.
The DBA is also considered claimant friendly due to its treatment of attorney fees. With the installment of the DBA, a work force of Dba attorneys has been assembled to assist those with maritime claims. It is reassuring to know that, should a worker find him or herself lost in a sea of confusion and difficulty that there is assistance available.
As maritime workers find themselves in increasingly dangerous job environments, it is necessary for them to have adequate compensation. The DBA seeks to offer proper compensation for the maritime claims resulting from the dangerous but necessary work longshoremen and harbor workers partake in.