Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Who Pays Your Defense Base Act Attorneys Fees ?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 15, 2011

Alert:  We have received a report that a DBA Attorney is taking part of a claimants compensation checks.  This is  very low tactic and we hope this attorney is soon exposed.

When a Defense Base Act Attorney or Law Firm advertises “no money upfront, or no fees upfront”, or that all fees must be approved, or that their fee is contingent, it means that they plan to have you pay their fees out whatever lost wages or medical you may be awarded.  Never ever hire one of these lawyers who would take  money from you when the insurance company is supposed to pay.  Ask them how this benefits them because it sure as hell does not benefit you !!

“The way the Defense Base Act is set up in terms of attorneys fees (no up front attorney fee is required, all lawyer fees must be approved and an attorney fee is contingent and will only be owed if we are able to collect funds for you”  Clever, how would you know they mean that YOU will be owing these fees

The Defense Base Act provides for your attorney fees to be paid for by the Insurance Company.

9th Circuit Court Upholds LHWCA/DBA Attorney’s fees

In disputed claims, the attorney fee frequently is assessed against the employer and is paid in addition to compensation

You would probably not be at this blog  nor would you need an attorney if your claim were not disputed.

Your DBA Attorney is required  to keep track of their hours and expenses (receipts) for the duration of the legal process and turn them in to the ALJ or DD for approval and subsequent payment by the DBA Insurance Company when they have in fact succeeded in securing an award in your favor.

It is not illegal for a Defense Base Act Attorney to charge Injured Contractors and Widows these fees.

The fees do have to be approved by an ALJ or DD and we do not know why an ALJ or DD would allow this.

But it might just be illegal for a Defense Base Act Attorney to have Injured Contractors and Widows sign on to pay as much 40%  without ever disclosing to them that they are not required to do so under the Act.

We’d love to hear what excuses these attorneys are using to bleed more money out of the Injured Contractors and Widows, many of them foreign and more susceptible to this treatment.

Please let us know in the comment section below if you have been asked to pay your attorneys legal  fees.

From the Longshore Manual

Fee When Carrier Declines to Pay Compensation. Under section 28(a), if an EC does not pay any compensation within thirty days after receiving written notification of a claim being filed, and the case is later settled at the informal level in favor of the claimant, the DD/CE must assess the fee for an attorney against the EC

Fee Where Voluntary Payment Made, But Controversy Arises Over Amount of Additional Compensation.

  1. If the EC voluntarily pays compensation without an award and a controversy develops over the amount of additional compensation (if any) to which the claimant may be entitled, the DD/CE shall, within ten days of knowledge of the controversy, set the case for an informal conference. Either at the conference or afterwards, the DD/CE is to recommend in writing the disposition of the matter. If the claimant has utilized the services of an attorney during this period to obtain additional compensation, any additional legal fee (based on efforts to obtain additional compensation) is to be assessed against the EC.

Continue reading here to learn why your informal conference is so important to you which we will soon post on.

32 Responses to “Who Pays Your Defense Base Act Attorneys Fees ?”

  1. Mark Schaeffer, Washington DC. told us he would only charge us 20 percent, which was a bargain in his words.
    He never disclosed to us that the insurance company paid the claimants legal fees.
    It wasn’t until we hired a different attorney that we found out.
    You can see claim after claim where he collects his fee from his clients rather than the insurance company.

  2. dante said

    What are you talking about, i paid Gary Pitts $5000,00 per cheque for his “expenses” and an additional $3000,00 he recovered at the written pledge of Roger Levy from CNA to reimburse my expert witness (i had to pay for everything upfront) for his four-hour long deposition via satelite.

    No judge ever approved the $8000,00 dollars (eight thousand dollars) i paid to my first DBA lawyer Gary Pitts after he lost my case but before he turned in the BRB brief (inexplicably skipping the motion for reconsideration).

    Lawyers like David Barnet are charging widows more for their services then they get paid out in the end.

    This is beyond digusting. More and more you see settlement awards matching lawyers fees and the ALJ’s just endorse it. It’s become a total racket, involving judges, lawyers from both sides deciding in advance what happens in any particular case, in short its worse than the mafia.

    A sure denial is any claimant who has ever spoken to the media, no matter how local or insignificant.
    Now does this raise a red flag or what?

    • anonymousonpurpose said

      Hello Dante!

      Amazing you should say that last line…I had my small town newspaper article AND THIS VERY WEBSITE USED AGAINST ME….It was quoted in my D&O despite being barred as “hearsay’!

      I still cannot believe I have all of the facts and Dr.’s testimony on my side yet here I sit years later in intense pain WAITING…
      maybe one day :-(

    • Gary B. Pitts said

      Mr. “Dante,” does not identify himself, but his allegation is in every respect a a lie. I have never represented any client who had an email address address or referred to himself as “Dante.” I have never been paid any money from any Defense Base Act client ever. If they win or settle a DBA case, attorneys representing DBA clients get paid whatever the U.S. Dept. of Labor orders the insurance company to pay them, usually years after beginning work on the case. If there were a lot of money in handling these cases there would be a lot of attorneys handling them. There are very few who are willing to handle them. If Mr. “Dante” will be kind enough to identify himself and his address to me, I will be happy to consider suing him for libel. Gary Pitts

  3. Gary Pitts says:

    “If there were a lot of money in handling these cases there would be a lot of attorneys handling them. There are very few who are willing to handle them”

    That’s an old song your singing Gary. There are attorneys all over the US clamoring for DBA claims. New advertisements pop up everyday. Try a google search.

    The DBA Attorneys who actually do the work to be able to file for the hours are being awarded very substantial fees.

  4. [...] Fluor employee victim of brutal rape at FOB Shank in Afghanistan in Critical Condition in GermanyWho Pays Your Defense Base Act Attorneys Fees ?Two New Contractor PTSD Suicides this week At Least 119 Civilian Contractors Killed in Third Quarter [...]

  5. Lance Tyler Thomas said

    My Attorney at the Turley Law Firm in San Diego, CA. I was told me he will recieve 12-18% of the total DBA compensation paid to me from CNA Global. The 12-18% could vary depending on long it took for me to get my claim settled! Please inform me on what I need to do about this.

    Thank you,

    • defensebaseactcomp said

      Lance,
      Mr Turley has a lot to do with how long your claim will take to be “settled” and so I would be concerned about that.
      Why he or any of these attorneys needs to take his fees from the claimant is beyond me.
      Maybe you could ask him for us, he did not respond to us.
      Certainly it makes the insurance company happy.

      • Mele said

        Turley gave the option of three ways he gets paid. Yes he did mention during my free consultation, I had to ask his fees, one is the settlement awarded to the injured it is 18% as ACE is the insurance carrier.
        I am happy, I came upon this blog, as now I will research for another Attorney

    • Russ said

      I’m meeting with this law firm to see about hiring them to represent me as this is the only law firm that I know of in So Cal area, I believe I need a CA firm to represent me as I’m a CA resident. Company in TX injured in AFG. Any other law firms that I could talk with? ASAP.

  6. Alex said

    I’m in a settlement stage of my case and don’t want to get ripped off by the insurance company. Can someone please give me the name of an Honest Attorney to deal with the final stages of my case.

    The insurance company made an offer, and if I don’t accept their final offer they will go ahead with the War Hazard Recovery. Anyone know what that means?

    • defensebaseactcomp said

      You most definitely need an honest attorney. We’re running a little low on them right now.

      If your injury or injuries were due to a “War Hazard” the Insurance Company may be reimbursed by the US Government the entire amount of your claim plus an administrative fee of up to 15%.

      Do you feel that you are being coerced into taking an offer that is not in your best interest?

      • Alex said

        Not Coerced but more like an Ultimatum. Herbert Chestnut was kind enough to give me some free advice on War Hazard Recovery and the offer. I’ve been offered a monthly settlement for 25 years guranteed for life, and Self Administerd MSA. Any comments or suggestions?

        • defensebaseactcomp said

          First, monthly payments due not constitute a settlement. It is simply an agreement.

          There are far too many of these ultimatums, coerced agreements or settlements after years of bleeding the injured until they feel they must accept whatever is offered them. Only a rare few do the Judges or DoL refuse to sign off on.

          It would be difficult to know if yours is one of these without the details.

          Most of all you need to decide if you can live with it or not.

          At any rate, never ever trust the insurance companies wording in any agreement. Devil’s in the details.

        • dulce bellum inexpertis said

          Depending on the nature of your injuries you should already a monthly settlement for life. It would come under the LHWCA (DBA). So be careful as to what it is they are offering. It is hard to make sense of the WHCA as it would seem that you get conflicting information depending on who you speak too.
          All the people who claim to know say conflicting themes. I guess the only people who would know are at the DoL and they are very quiet on the subject.
          You do need a good attorney though that is for sure as you can be certain any agreement you make with the employer/carrier will not be in your favour.
          Good luck

          • Alex said

            Can someone please give me names of some honest attorneys. I’m in the final stages of my settlement, and I’ve a feeling I will be screwd badly. On the other hand I also do not trust any lawyers. I have an angel watching over me at DOL Ms. Martinez but she cannot give me any advice as they’re not allowed to do so. Who pays the attorneys? The few that I talked to wants 30% if they didn’t get anything from the inusrance company. Please help me!

  7. Duke said

    Another way to find attorneys is to go to the DOL website and read the case decisions and from that decision get teh name of the guy who prevailed.

  8. Anonymousonpurpose said

    Herbert Chestnut was “kind enough” to offer you advice!

    Him and his runt partner are the epitome of crookedness and self service! They care absolutely NOTHING for the truly injured, only how to fatten their bank accounts off of the hard work and sacrifice of honestly injured, & trusting people.

    May they both rot in hell!

  9. Boue said

    I worked for Fluor Daniels in Afghanistan we have Medics over there I was injured but I am still working about the same as a co-worker who worked until she could no longer work (thinking the Medics knew what they where saying) Sometimes you go to the Medics and they do not see you they meet you at the door and just talk to you. How do we track this to show we are getting help or trying to get help for an issue. I saw a few people pay themselves in Dubia and in the US because the Doctor did not use certain words they are stuck out there. How soon do I need to get an attorney because now like my co worker I need to go home for help these people are not helping me here.

  10. Duke said

    Let me add, I would not want any relationship going forward with any of these insurance companies….haven’t you had enough of them?

  11. Injured Contractor said

    I’d say that most of us have had more than enought to do with them.
    But unless you are offered a settlement, a real settlement, not to be confused with stipulations and agreements, the most you will ever “win” is a lifelong battle with the insurance company. If your claim is accepted as a war hazard you may be transferred to the DFEC.
    Roger Levy claims that CNA does not settle War Hazards Claims, though they do, and has written a paper you can purchase explaining the tactics he recommends.
    It would be wrong to think that there are any real choices as a claimant.

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