Nashville Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Entertainment Industry Workers
Helping Tennessee’s musicians, performers, and others get the work injury compensation they deserve
Tennessee is called the “birthplace of entertainment,” and for good reason. With attractions like The Grand Ole Opry, The Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the area’s growing popularity as a filming destination for major movie studios, many of our clients work in the entertainment industry. And, as an employee in any industry – whether you work on stage, behind the camera, in production, in marketing and advertising – you should be eligible for workers’ compensation if you’re hurt on the job.
At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm in Nashville, we understand how entertainment injuries can be different from many other types of workers’ compensation injuries. For a performer, something as minor as a twisted ankle can take them off the job for weeks or months. We help performers, stagehands and other entertainers who are injured on the job get all the medical and economic benefits Tennessee worker’s compensation law allows. We work aggressively so that artists can return to work when they’re ready, and not when an employer pushes them to perform.
What is workers’ compensation?
In a nutshell, workers’ comp insurance provides medical and wage benefits when you’ve been injured on the job. Tennessee employers with more than five employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In exchange for providing these benefits to their employees, employers are protected from civil lawsuits from employees injured on the job. Note that you don’t have to prove fault for your injuries to collect workers’ compensation.
Nashville – home to entertainment workers and performers
Our state, as most residents and tourists know, is home to some of the greatest entertainment in the world. Right here in Nashville, there are many small nightclubs and music venues along Lower Broadway, Second Avenue, and Printer's Alley. Some of the larger venues are:
- Grand Ole Opry House
- Bridgestone Arena
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- Municipal Auditorium
- Nashville Symphony
- Ryman Auditorium
- Tennessee Performing Arts Center
- War Memorial Auditorium
- CMA Music Festival
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector comprises “establishments that are involved in producing, promoting, or participating in live performances, events, or exhibits intended for public viewing; (2) establishments that preserve and exhibit objects and sites of historical, cultural, or educational interest; and (3) establishments that operate facilities or provide services that enable patrons to participate in recreational activities or pursue amusement, hobby, and leisure-time interests.” This includes:
- Amusement park attendants
- Crew members
- Golf and tennis pros
- Musicians, actors and performers
- Production staff
- Tour guides
The BLS reported 102 fatalities nationwide in the entertainment industry in 2017, with a 4.2 injury and illness rate for every one hundred workers.
Common types of entertainment injuries
Due to the physically challenging nature of the job, workers in the entertainment industry can find themselves more at risk for injury than other types of employees. And, due to the pressure to keep working, many people exacerbate their injuries, causing further harm or developing a cumulative condition.
Our Nashville workers’ compensation attorneys have experience representing clients with many types of injuries, including:
- Back injuries from repeated bending and lifting
- Burns or electrocution from exposure to electrical cords and equipment
- Catastrophic injuries from stunt accidents, car accidents or unsafe work conditions
- Drownings and near-drownings
- Hearing loss from exposure to loud noises or music
- Fall-related injuries
- Injury due to violence
- Toxic exposure injuries
We know what kind of consequences you may face if you don’t get the help you need. We walk you through the process of filing for workers’ compensation, and fight on your behalf if your employer fights your claim. We refuse to back down until you get the compensation you need to get started on the path to recovery.
Legal issues in Nashville entertainment workers’ compensation cases
When considering your workers’ compensation claim, the law can be complicated, and you should take many things into consideration. We can help guide you in making the best possible decisions for your case.
Employees vs. independent contractors
In many workers’ comp cases involving the entertainment industry, the first defense insurance companies will raise is whether the performer was an employee or an independent contractor. Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers understand that the resolution of this issue depends on many factors. Employees can generally collect workers’ compensation benefits. Independent contractors normally are not entitled to work injury benefits. Here’s why.
The key factor is who “controls” the performer. A person who works at the same nightclub every evening is likely to be an employee. A host or singer who performs just for one hotel is likely to be an employee. A solo artist or production worker who shifts venues regularly, however, is more likely to be an independent contractor. Other factors include issues like:
- Is there a management company?
- How was the entertainer paid (through a third party, an agency, etc.)?
- Was the worker free to work for other companies?
- Who provided the equipment for the performer?
Did the accident occur during work?
You’re only eligible for workers’ comp if your injury occurred at work. However, this doesn’t mean you need to be “in the office” to be hurt on the job. Many employees in other industries work at the same location, day in and day out. Entertainers often work at different stages in different arenas. Insurance companies will question whether the worker was “on the job” when the accident occurred. They’ll argue that they’ll only pay out if you were injured while you were performing. Our lawyers fight to show that accidents during travel and rehearsal time should also be covered.
Average weekly wage
Another issue in entertainment workers’ compensation cases is determining a correct and fair average weekly wage. Some workers in the entertainment industry work a set number of hours each week. However, many performers, production and crew don’t work regular hours. There are ways to determine an average weekly wage based on yearly income measurements and other tests.
Do you have a workers’ compensation attorney near me?
Rocky McElhaney Law Firm has two offices in Nashville: one at 545 Mainstream Dr. (Suite 105) and one at 615 Main Street, M2. We also have state-of-the-art offices in Hendersonville and Clarksville. If you are too injured to come to us, we will make home and hospital visits, or schedule a phone or video consultation.
Speak with premier worker’s compensation lawyers today
The Gladiators in Suits at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm represent all types of workers, no matter their profession. Entertainment makes life enjoyable. Performers deserve to be paid all the compensation they’re due if they’re hurt while working. Our work injury lawyers fight to show all employees deserve reliable wages. For help securing medical and wage benefits, contact us at 615.425.2500 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Clarksville.