At the Mara Law Firm we are proud to fight for the rights of workers who are injured in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere overseas while covered by the Defense Base Act.


All eligible civilian employees injured abroad while working under a U.S. government contract are entitled to compensation. This is according to the Defense Base Act (DBA). 42 USC §1651, et seq. The DBA is an extension of the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The compensation includes medical benefits and disability compensation. Also, under the DBA, all eligible survivors of a civilian contractor killed while working overseas are eligible for death benefits.

If you were a civilian contractor injured while working overseas such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Guantanamo Bay or Southeast Asia, contact Mara Law Firm. We are DBA lawyers ready to help you obtain the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.

Eligibility for Compensation Under the Defense Base Act (DBA)

Defense Base Act Lawyer

Before you can receive compensation, you must meet certain criteria. It is important to stress that nationality is not one of the criteria. If you were injured while working overseas and you meet any of the following criteria, you are eligible:

  1. You worked overseas on a public works contract for a U.S. government agency that falls under war activities or the heading of national defense.
  2. You worked overseas for a private employer on land used by the U.S. for military reasons or on a U.S. military base.
  3. You worked for the United Service Organizations (USO) or another organization that provided welfare and moral services to the overseas U.S. military.
  4. You worked under a U.S. government-funded and approved contract

If you are a civilian injured while working overseas, you’re entitled to medical benefits, compensation, and other benefits, according to the DBA. The DBA is a federal law. It significantly differs from California workers’ compensation laws. The Mara Law Firm has specialized in DBA cases for over a decade. We are familiar with the U.S. Department of Labor claims process and the Office of Administrative Law Judges’ formal hearing process. When you need help with a DBA case, call our Defense Base Act attorneys at the Mara Law Firm.

Who is Considered a Civilian Employee?

The Defense Base Act (DBA) doesn’t limit the definition of a civilian employee. Eligible civilian employees include, but are not limited to:

  1. Clerical workers
  2. Truck drivers
  3. Translators
  4. Linguists
  5. Cooks
  6. Security officers
  7. Explosive experts
  8. Janitors
  9. Mechanics
Defense Base Act Workers

You are eligible to receive temporary or permanent disability benefits. For example, you will receive ⅔ of your average weekly earnings. There is a maximum amount you can receive. The amount will change depending on the average wage rates and the economy. The calculation is made on the 52 weeks worked before your injury.

You are also eligible for:

  1. Surgical treatment
  2. Diagnostic studies
  3. Hospitalization
  4. Medical treatment
  5. Nursing
  6. Faith healing
  7. Apparatus required for treatment
  8. Costs of traveling for medical treatment
Defense Base Act Coverage

You have the right to choose your doctor to treat your injuries.

If you already have a pre-existing condition and it is aggravated, you may also receive compensation. The main requirement is that your employment overseas must accelerate, aggravate, or connect with a disease or condition for which you’re seeking compensation.

Death Benefits for Family Members of a Civilian Worker Killed Overseas?

Tragically, some civilian workers are killed during their employment. Fortunately, the DBA benefits the family members or next of kin. 

Contact The Mara Law Firm about Your DBA Claim

Contact us todayDefense Base Act Attorney David Mara to schedule a free confidential consultation with our Defense Base Act Lawyers. Our dedicated staff will give you the attention and consideration you deserve in your time of need. Our Defense Base Act attorneys at the Mara Law Firm will devote ourselves to protecting your interests and obtaining the maximum benefits that your case merits.

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  • I was blown away by the results my case got. It far exceeded my expectations. Not only do you get someone who is a great professional; but he will fight for what you deserve. I was uncertain in the beginning; now I’m a believer. Mr. Mara is also personable. Lisa his paralegal was tremendous throughout the whole process. She would keep me updated on the whole process. Don’t cheat yourself by using anyone else; you will be taken care of the right way if you choose Dave

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  • Mr. Mara and his firm helped me file a claim for death benefits on behalf of my late husband. I was very pleased with his knowledge, research, and representation regarding my DBA claim for death benefits. I would absolutely recommend him and its associates to my friends, family, and others needing an attorney who specializes in employment, personal injury, and death benefits. Mr. Mara was very compassionate, timely, and responsive to my family’s needs. I can’t thank him enough.

    Sally A ChandSan Francisco

  • Dave Mara did an outstanding job on my DBA case. Dave, I personally want to thank you for guiding me in the right direction and having a successful case outcome. God bless you for all the effort you put into my DBA case. Words can’t describe how thankful I am. Thank you for helping injured overseas contractors.

    Jim Joned San Francisco

  • Mr. Mara and his staff were very professional and I would highly recommend Mr. Mara. Mr. Mara had my best interests in settling my case and I am very appreciative of all he and his staff did for me. If I ever needed help or had simple questions, Mr. Mara and his staff were always available to take my calls and help me. Highly recommend this firm!

    DebSan Francisco

  • Dave Mara comes with a very high recommendation. He took a workman’s compensation case for me and really handled it well. It was an unclear case and a new issue that the WC most likely had never seen. He kept me up to date with the long confusing process and was very understanding and sympathetic to my plight( I was the victim of a violent crime). Dave has no big lawyer shenanigans and dramatic posing, he is a down-to-earth, fair, honest hard working lawyer who really does not seem like an an attorney at all. I recommend anyone in the SD area to consult with Dave it was a painless process.

    Linda DSan Francisco

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