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FECA Precludes Air Force Employee’s Claims

23 Apr, 2023 Frank Ferreri

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Oklahoma City, OK ( -- Those who follow state workers' compensation law are familiar with the exclusive remedy provisions in many states that prevent workers injured on the job for bringing lawsuits against their employers while also collecting workers' compensation benefits.

As a federal employee discovered in Smith v. U.S. Dep't of Labor, No. CIV-22-1060-F (W.D. Okla. 04/13/23), there are also constraints under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act limiting personal injury claims for workers who collect benefits under federal law.

An Air Force worker was injured in a fall. He was given total temporary disability and could not return to work. After some delay, he started receiving workers' compensation.

Nonetheless, the worker, whose employment was at Tinker Air Force Base, brought a personal injury action against the U.S. Department of Labor in federal court.

When a federal employee's personal injuries are covered by the FECA, the remedy provided by the statute is exclusive, and the Labor Department has exclusive authority to determine whether a claim is covered.

In the Tinker worker's case, the court found that he was challenging the department's determinations regarding his workers' compensation claims. As a result, the court didn't have jurisdiction to consider the merits of his case and dismissed it.

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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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