Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Suicide from PTSD not compensible?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 15, 2009

It does not state anywhere in the LHWCA or the DBA that suicide from PTSD is not compensible.

PTSD is the injury.  The cause is exposure in the war zone.  Death is the result.

The theory that PTSD cannot be proven post mortem has clearly been blown out of the water in every other venue outside of the Department of Labor.

First AIG and CNA will try to prove that the contractor’s state of mind had nothing to do with working in the war zone.

They generally go after the claimants wife and try to show that she has somehow made this contractor so miserable that he no longer wanted to live.    Either the wife is accused of cheating on her husband, or the deceased husband is accused of cheating on his wife.   The stepchild may be accused of causing this state of mind.  These cases read like trash television, and are likely just as badly plotted.

Co workers are called on for depostions in which they state that working in the war zone is not dangerous.  In one case a coworker was sent to the families home to try to convince the wife that working in Iraq was not dangerous in 2003.  No bombs going off in Baghdad, no insurgents lying in wait for convoys to come by, no snipers, no kidnappings, no beheadings, no UN buildings being blown up, no mortar rounds landing in the green zone.  Really, it was safe.

Have we not gotten past the lies that  promoted the notion that it was safe to work in Iraq, ever?

Even if the contractor were having stressful  issues in theirs lives as so many of us do it has been proven that additional stress such as that of working in the war zones could be the trigger, the cause, that sets this injury off.

AIG, CNA, with the approval of the Department of Labor drag these claims out, drag these families throught the mud.

On top of losing their husbands and fathers, these families lose their homes, their finances, they lose everything else.

As long as they can keep a successful claim for death by PTSD out of the public record it is well worth their while to deny treatment and compensation to hundreds of other contractors injured with PTSD for five years or more.

When these injured contractors snap and kill themselves, maybe take someone else with them, they no longer have a claim to pay.

2 Responses to “Suicide from PTSD not compensible?”

  1. daffodils said

    Excellent post, thank you.

    The real question is why do many administrative law judges credit these slanderous fabrications and lies regarding war exposure. Even when they find that a witness has lied, no action is taken against such person or employer/carrier who clearly put them up to it, thus encouraging AIG/CNA to use the same depraved tactics time and again with total impunity.
    Judges have a duty to uphold the dignity of the court, not allow their trials to degenerate into mud-slinging and determining which party is better at turning reality on its head.

    Why is the law never implemented, esp. against insurance doctors who do this lying for a living?

    c) A person including, but not limited to, an employer, his duly authorized agent, or an employee of an insurance carrier who knowingly and willfully makes a false statement or representation for the purpose of reducing, denying, or terminating benefits to an injured employee, or his dependents pursuant to section 9 [33 USC § 909] if the injury results in death, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $ 10,000, by imprisonment not to exceed five years, or by both

    Its not that they don’t know better when even the US Army’s official threat assessment fails to persuade them in their plush chambers half a world removed:
    January 14, 2004: “Analysis of recent attacks and information indicate that anti-coalition groups and affiliated foreign fighters as well s local resistance groups in Iraq are becoming more sophisticated and may be coordinating their anti-coalition efforts. … There has been an increase of attacks involving … civilian / contractor personnel throughout Iraq … Recent weeks have seen a significant increase in the threat against civilian ‘soft targets.’ This includes attacks against western contractors and those associated with the CPA, Iraqis cooperating with the coalition … The threat of kidnapping remains high … This threat is highest in Baghdad …
    Judge Kennington, upheld by the Benefits Review Board: Decedent had not been exposed to life threatening or perceived life threatening events or dangers in Iraq.

    This judicially sanctioned mental torment and intentional emotional distress inflicted on these grieving widows and their families is criminal by any civilized standards. Only in the labor department blames “relationship problems” when they know very well that PTSD symptoms cause these problems as clearly stated in the DSMIV.

    Last June, Senior Judge Samuel Conti in VCS, et al. v. Peake, et al found that:
    The suicide rate among veterans is significantly higher than that of the general population,” and there is “a strong connection between PTSD and suicide.”
    “One out of every three soldiers returning from Iraq was seen in the VA for a mental health visit within a year of their return” with PTSD being a “leading diagnosis.”

    Lets put and end to the myth that the risk of PTSD in unarmed civilian contractors operating outside the wire cannot be compared to combat troops. A RAND study debunked this years ago.

    In D.M. v SEI, the same judge declared himself “impressed” with insurance psychiatrist Dr Griffith, a charlatan, and quoted this borderline sadistic statement in his decision:

    “Claimant’s unusual weepiness that he determined was a regression to childhood behavior of “mother come and get me, mother hold me, mother comfort me.”
    This is a man who spent a year as a bobtail driver in Iraq, who saw an IED explosion and when he wanted to retrieve the other driver’s body from the damaged truck he found all that was left of the driver was a forearm.

    Lets impeach the ALJs. They are the ones enabling cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment and punishment of already traumatized people. Their offense? Having suffered the “signature wound” of the Iraq war.

  2. Krash said

    I really think the ALJ’s and the insurance attorneys should spend a month outside the wire in Iraq, unarmed. Then maybe the contractors who are suffering from PTSD will have their claims approved and those who have not filed will now file without fear or recriminations.

    If the number of troops is already over 300,000 PTSD cases, I wonder what the number of contractors suffering in silence is??

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