Who Pays your Defense Base Act Attorney 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 when you must hire one to secure the proper benefits.

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.

4 thoughts on “Who Pays your Defense Base Act Attorney Fees?

  1. 1.
    Marcie Hascall Clark said
    February 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm
    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.


    Marcie Hascall Clark said
    February 16, 2011 at 11:52 am
    I should add here that Mr Schaefer had no problem presenting a bill for payment to CNA long after the fact.


    dante said
    February 16, 2011 at 12:47 am
    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
    February 18, 2011 at 2:21 am
    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
    October 15, 2011 at 5:11 am
    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


    Marcie Hascall Clark said
    October 15, 2011 at 8:25 am
    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.


    Who Pays Your Defense Base Act Attorneys Fees: Dante replies to Gary Pitts « Defense Base Act Compensation Blog said
    October 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm
    [...] 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 [...]


    Lance Tyler Thomas said
    March 14, 2012 at 10:59 pm
    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
    April 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm
    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
    November 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm
    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
    September 20, 2012 at 10:32 am
    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.


    defensebaseactcomp said
    September 20, 2012 at 11:11 am
    Your attorney does not need to be in California. Most DBA Attorneys take claims from all over the US and other countries as well.
    Turley knows the DBA and most of the insurance company tricks. Try asking him to please submit his fee request to the insurer rather than take it from you. If he refuses, write us at dbacasualty@yahoo.com and we’ll help you find an attorney who will.
    Trust that there is no benefit to you in this fee scheme.


    Patrick Blakeley said
    September 21, 2012 at 10:23 am
    I am very happy with my attorney Mr. Jeffrey Winter. He is located in San Diego Ca. (which is where I live.) He is very matter of fact type of person which is what you need in these DBA cases. Patrick B.


    Russ said
    September 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm
    Thank you I will contact him.


    Russ said
    September 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm
    Thank you, I will keep you posted.


    Patrick Blakeley said
    September 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm
    Please keep me up to date.

    Thanks Patrick


    Russ said
    September 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm
    Emaild with him I may not be covered under the DBA due to my employer was not on a US Gov contract.


    Alex said
    June 21, 2012 at 11:17 am
    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
    June 21, 2012 at 11:35 am
    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
    June 21, 2012 at 11:46 am
    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
    June 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm
    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
    September 23, 2012 at 7:08 am
    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
    September 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm
    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!


    defensebaseactcomp said
    September 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm
    Any lawyer who wants to take money from you needs to be flogged. There are very few DBA attorneys left who will advocate for the injured contractor. Contact us at dbacasualty@yahoo.com, we can make some suggestions. You are right to be cautious.


    Duke said
    September 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm
    Jay Causey, Seattle Wa. He is in the process of settling my claim at the moment. Hes very good.


    defensebaseactcomp said
    September 26, 2012 at 8:46 pm
    Is he taking money from you or the insurance company? It would sure be good to have a few honest attorneys aboard


    Patrick Blakeley said
    October 3, 2012 at 10:40 pm
    Jeffrey Winter located in San Diego, Ca. He has not asked me for one dime.


  2. Pingback: Who Pays Your Defense Base Act Attorneys Fees: Dante Replies to Gary Pitts | Defense Base Act Workers' Compensation

  3. You only paraphrased the statute. The fees only shift to the carrier, when the claims examiner has issued a recommendation, written, and the carrier has rejected it. Then, per a strict reading of the statute, may the attorney collect from the carrier. The statute does allow for recovery from the claimant and a lien contrary to your post. Your post fails from the perspective that people cannot get counsel at the early stage of the litigation because they are prevented from hiring counsel, and good lawyers do not work for free.

    • We copied and pasted the statute.
      It is clear that attorneys fees are to be paid for by the insurance company in contested claims.
      Many attorneys are charging fees up front and taking percentages from claimants in CONTESTED CLAIMS without disclosing that they are afforded attorneys fees under the Act when they have been denied benefits.
      We hear from and deal with claimants who are being denied their DBA benefits either partially or altogether.
      A “good” attorney, in our opinion, would fight for their clients rights under the act which would include seeking their payment from the insurance company in contested cases and not from any award the claimant was entitled to in the first place.
      Further, in our opinion, a good DBA attorney who served as an advocate for injured claimants as so many suggest they do would not contribute to this abuse by those DoL Claims Examiners or District Directors like Charles D Lee, a former Liberty Mutual employee, and the Insurance Companies by letting them get away with it.

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