Los Angeles is a city like no other, and we have the film industry to prove it. LA is the epicenter of the film world and that can often mean that a day-to-day job here can involve dangerous work like performing stunts. So, do these stunt performers have the same legal protections as workers who perform less strenuous work? Could studios find themselves just as liable for their performers as any other company is for their workers?
When Stunt Men Are Injured, Could the Studio Be Held Responsible?
A long time ago, worker protections weren’t very strong in the film industry, but we have come a long way since then. Performer unions, state laws and federal mandates have made working in the movies more like working “nine to five”, but these regulations are sometimes lacking when it comes to compensating injured workers.
In one case, a man working for a studio producing a television show for the USA Network was injured during filming. He wasn’t in the middle of performing a stunt but was caught off guard as one of the show’s actors improvised driving off in a vehicle. The SUV struck and then dragged the stunt man, breaking several bones and causing injuries that keep him from performing his work.
Workers compensation, and even OSHA fines, were thwarted by the simple fact that the stuntman was hired as an independent contractor. This led to the man filing a lawsuit to recover his damages and lost wages. On March 29th, the studio and the stuntman came to an undisclosed settlement. The parties will be due back in court to finalize the deal in July.
When it comes to working in the film industry, it is important to know your rights. It can mean the difference between making a living in the industry that you love or struggling to pay off medical bills for an injury that happened due to someone else’s negligence. An experienced attorney can help keep you informed of your rights. So, if you are injured, don’t be afraid to contact a legal professional who can help.