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Defense Base Act Zone of Special Danger: DBA Injuries Sustained During Recreational Activities

The Defense Base Act is different from most other workers’ compensation schemes in that under the DBA, an injury is covered even if it was not incurred while working. For example, injuries sustained by DBA workers during recreational activities are covered by the Defense Base Act. In this article, a Defense Base Act Lawyer discusses recreational injuries that are covered under the Defense Base Act.

Under the DBA, injuries resulting from reasonable and foreseeable recreational activities in isolated or dangerous locales arise out of a “zone of special danger” and are therefore compensable under the DBA. In this article, we discuss various cases where DBA employees were involved in “recreational activities” and the courts found their case to be covered by the Defense Base Act.

Boating Accident Covered

A DBA worker who drowned in a weekend boating accident 30 miles from his job site at a defense base work site was found compensable under the DBA.

Late-Night Romantic Rendezvous With Supervisor Covered

A DBA employee was injured during a late-night rendezvous with her supervisor in a parked car that was hit by an out-of-control army weapons carrier was found to be compensable under the DBA.

Hit by Truck While Hitchhiking

A DBA employee was was hit by a truck while hitchhiking back to his campsite after dinner at a local restaurant was found to be a compensable claim under the Defense Base Act.

Traffic Accident During “Joy-Ride”

A DBA worker was “joy-riding” in an after-hours jeep accident and was killed. Nevertheless, the court found the death arose out of the “zone of special danger” even though the jeep may have been speeding and the employer may not have authorized the use of its jeep.

Bar Tussle

A DBA worker got into a tussle during a pool game at a bar while off-duty. The court nevertheless found the DBA worker’s injury to be compensable. The court characterized the incident as “horse-play” and found it to be covered by the DBA.

Exercise and Training Injuries

Injuries to DBA workers while they are exercising and/or training are always compensable under the DBA. We have consistently won DBA cases where the Claimant was injured while playing soccer, playing basketball, jogging, and lifting weights.

The Bottom Line

You should always assume your DBA injury is a compensable injury under the DBA.


This article is not legal advice. Your circumstances may differ from those described herein. We are simplistic in order to achieve clarity. If you are a seriously injured DBA worker you are advised to consult with a Defense Base Act Attorney. Finally, whenever you are bringing a claim under the DBA, your credibility is always at issue. Thus, always tell the truth. As this article demonstrates, you can win your DBA case with the truth.

Bill Turley is a leading Defense Base Act Attorney with offices across California. He is a Super Lawyer and has the highest Avvo Rating. Bill has the most comprehensive DBA Lawyer website.