Throughout 2014, it was reported that more than 3 workers out of 100 were injured in motion picture and sound recording industry jobs in Michigan. Few people give a thought to entertainment jobs being dangerous; however, there have been some very frightening injuries associated with filming, site scouting and other entertainment related jobs.
Unlike typical work sites, most motion picture scenes must be constructed, which increases the likelihood of a construction accident, electrocution accident, or slip and fall accident. In fact, a story in Deadline Hollywood reported camera crews were 4 times more likely to lose their lives than those involved in stunt. The bulk of these accidents were as a result of helicopter or car crashes. In addition, stunt workers tend to wear protective gear while film crews are less likely to have the same protection.
Common Hazards in Filming Locations
Even those who are involved in the periphery of a film, like extras and technicians, can face dangers. For example, sets that are poorly built can tumble during filming, causing head and neck injuries. Cords and wires that are carelessly laying around can cause electrical dangers or slip-and-fall accidents. And improper use of tools can result in amputation of a finger or arm.
Serious Bodily Injury
Serious bodily injuries occur far too frequently on movie sets. In fact, during the filming of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, a stuntman was left completely paralyzed after a stunt went terribly wrong and he was thrown against a wall. During the filming of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a 25 year old extra, Gabrielle Cedillo, had to undergo brain surgery after a cable pulling another car broke loose and smashed through the windshield of her car, hitting her in the head, leaving her with traumatic brain injuries and partially paralyzed.
Injuries in the Michigan Entertainment Industry
Injuries occur in a wide variety of shows across the industry. One of the saddest, and most remembered, incidents in Michigan occurred in 2011 at the Selfridge Air Show, when wing walker Todd Green fell to his death during an air show attended by 75,000 people.
Not all Injuries are Fatal
While not all injuries are fatal, the long-term consequences can often be very serious. Victims can suffer paralysis, burns, or traumatic brain injuries. As with any type of workplace accident, reports must be filed with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to determine the cause of the accident and ensure that all basic safety requirements are being met.
Fighting for the Rights of Injured Workers
While some industry workers are considered independent contractors, employees are covered under Michigan workers’ compensation law. This means that the filmmakers, the studio or someone else must take out the appropriate insurance policies to ensure that if someone is injured, the cost of their medical bills, recovery and long-term nursing care is covered.
In serious cases, victims suffer injuries that can impact their ability to secure additional work, which is why it becomes so important to reach out to an attorney who understands Michigan’s worker’s compensation laws.
However, this does not automatically mean the insurer will pay your bills in a timely manner nor does it mean they will automatically approve your claim. If you have served in any role in the making of a film and you’ve suffered an injury, it’s important to immediately to file a claim and report the injury to your superiors. If your claim is denied for any reason or you feel the insurance company is not treating you fairly, contact the Law Offices of Alex Berman, PC immediately at (855) 221-2667 for a consultation. You can also fill out our simple online form and we’ll get back to you. We understand Michigan worker’s compensation laws and we’ll fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve.