Injured In Afghanistan
During the recent time the United States has maintained a military presence in Afghanistan, there have been tens of thousands of contractors working there to provide support to the military personnel and provide other services. In 2014 were over 50,000 non-military people employed in Afghanistan, and even with a diminished military presence, and a corresponding decline in the contractors working, there is still the need for services.
The largest percentage of contractors served in logistics and maintenance roles, but many worked jobs in military base support, as translators, private security personnel, in communications, information technology, construction and other areas.
There are a large variety of duties undertaken by contractors, all of which have some inherent occupational hazard of their own, such as an electrician’s risk of being shocked while on the job. Add to that being in a war zone, and the risk of injury or death from doing a job increases. The Defense Base Act (DBA) is a federal workers’ compensation program that is designed to compensate those inured while working overseas on military or other U.S. sponsored contracts, but obtaining that compensation can be a difficult journey.
The number of contractor casualties in Afghanistan, including injury and death, was often higher than military casualties during certain periods. Deaths were often a result of suicide bombers, or car bombs. Some were killed in helicopter or plane crashes or by roadside bombs. Several were victims of ambushes, or lone gunmen masquerading as Afghan army personnel.
The types of injuries that have been sustained are much the same as those we see in our returning military personnel. Injuries that at one time would have resulted in death are now treatable, but leave devastating complications. Then there are the unseen injuries that result from working in a war zone. The numbers of those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is high and climbing higher. The incidence of PTSD for contractors is the same as for military, because they have been subject to the same conditions, the same traumatic events. It has been a fight with the DBA insurance companies, but PTSD is now recognized as a compensable condition, as long as it can be medically documented.Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is another condition that can be difficult to diagnose and treat. TBI can result from concussions, such as those incurred being near a bomb blast, or from a blow to the head like you would receive in a vehicle accident.
Exposure to toxic fumes from burn pits or other toxic chemicals can have very real and very serious effects, but those conditions may not manifest until some time after exposure. There have been reports of a rise in a variety of cancers, such as lung, brain, bone and skin. Other conditions have been reported as well: allergies, asthma, pulmonary issues, gastro-intestinal problems, heart conditions, weeping sores and other problems. There were burn pits in use in the following locations in Afghanistan:
Bagram Air Base
Camp Bastion Airfield
FOB Fenty, Jalalabad
If you worked for a U.S. contractor in Afghanistan, and you are currently experiencing medical or psychological problems, they may be related to your work overseas. The conditions listed above are only a partial list. You should consult with medical professionals, and obtain legal advice. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or condition. The attorneys at Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, P.A. are knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated Defense Base Act lawyers. They will be able to guide you through the system and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.