Who’s protected and where to get help if you’re hurt on set
Georgia is quickly becoming a hub for the movie and TV industry, with Atlanta sometimes referred to as the Hollywood of the South. In 2021, the state set a new record with over $4 billion in spending on film productions. Popular TV shows filmed in Georgia include “WandaVision” on Disney+, “Lovecraft Country” on HBO, “The Underground Railroad” on Amazon, and Marvel’s “The Falcon and Winter Soldier.” Meanwhile, blockbuster movies such as Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” and DC’s “The Suicide Squad” were filmed in the Peach State, too.
However, the tragic accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin while filming “Rust” in New Mexico illustrates the potential risks for film crew in the workplace. While film workers injured in Georgia can file a workers’ compensation claim like any other employee, film crew injuries can involve legal issues that are different from typical workers.
Can film crew who live out of state
file for workers’ compensation in Georgia?
Yes. Georgia law protects any worker injured in the state. This coverage includes temporary workers who reside in another state, another country, as well as workers who live in Georgia.
Can injured film workers sue for pain and suffering?
In most cases, the answer is no. Georgia’s workers’ compensation statutes prevent injured workers from suing their employer for pain and suffering in exchange for getting rid of the need to establish employer negligence before workers can receive compensation for injuries.
However, if a third party causes a worker’s injury, the injured employee can both sue the third party and seek workers’ compensation from their employer. This provision of Georgia law often applies to film crew injuries because production companies frequently use equipment or specialized services provided by third-party contractors.
If the negligence of that third party causes an employee’s injury, that worker can bring a tort action against that entity, in which compensation for pain and suffering is sought through a civil complaint.
Legal counsel with experience bringing workers’ compensation actions against film production companies can help determine all the responsible parties involved in a movie or TV set accident.
Are out-of-state production companies required to carry workers’ compensation in Georgia?
Yes. Any employer who hires more than 3 people to work in Georgia is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This rule applies the same to low-or no-budget productions as it does to large major motion picture projects.
If injured in Georgia, does a worker need to file their claim in Georgia?
It depends. In most cases, an injured worker must file their claim in the state where the injury occured. Georgia provides limited protection for injured workers compared to other states, with a comparatively low cap on weekly benefits at $675 per week. By contrast, Texas allows an injured worker to receive up to $1,007 every week while out of work.
Consult an experienced lawyer who is familiar with worker’s compensation law to determine the best place to file your claim.
Can film crew injured in another state file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia?
Yes. There are 3 conditions an employee injured in another state must satisfy to file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia:
- The worker resides in Georgia, or the production company’s place of business is in Georgia.
- The employment contract was agreed to in Georgia.
- The employment includes work done inside the state of Georgia.
If all 3 of these elements are established, an injured worker may file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia.
What benefits can film crew receive under Georgia workers’ compensation statutes?
Georgia law recognizes 3 classes of workplace injury claims:
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
A worker receives PPD when they establish they have suffered a permanent injury that impairs their ability to work, but they are still capable of holding a job. In this situation, Georgia applies a payment schedule based on the percentage of disability (25%, 50%, etc.). PPD benefits vary depending on that state.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
An injured employee qualifies for TPD when they suffer from an injury that impairs their ability to perform their job on a temporary basis. A worker must establish that they are receiving less pay than before the accident. TPD benefits can last up to 350 weeks from the date of the injury.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
If an injured employee is temporarily unable to work, they may qualify for TTD. An injured worker must wait 1 week before making a TTD claim. After this waiting period, the employee will become eligible to receive weekly benefits. Injured workers can receive TTD benefits up to 400 weeks in Georgia.
Catastrophic injuries are impairments that leave an employee permanently unable to work. These kinds of injuries involve permanent impairment and allow employees to claim lifetime benefits.
When to consult with a Georgia work injury lawyer
This brief overview of Georgia workers’ compensation laws for film crew workers demonstrates the complex legal issues and strategic judgments involved in these types of cases. If you’ve been injured on a TV or movie set in Georgia, learn about your rights by scheduling a consultation with an attorney as soon as possible.
The experienced professionals at Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Atlanta can help you determine your best course of action and get you the help you need.