Are Artists and Creatives Entitled to Workers’ Compensation? It Depends…



Artists and performers in the creative industries often work grueling work schedules. This includes little or no compensation if they face injury or illness. Many artists wonder, “How does workers’ compensation work?” Is it available to them? This post will examine how an employment law attorney can help artists and creatives in the face of unforeseen circumstances.

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Dangers artists and creatives face

Performers face slips, falls, broken bones, and muscle injuries 

Artists often perform high-level skills as part of their profession. Dancers, gymnasts, actors, and musicians regularly put their bodies at risk to entertain. A play can have complex fight sequences and choreography, leading to performer injuries. These injuries can prevent them from performing and working in the long term. 

Mental-health/burnout issues

Creative work is unpredictable and competitive. Artists often work long, strenuous hours when on a contract. Most artists also hold jobs in other industries to help pay the bills between contracts. This unpredictability, combined with high-stress jobs, can lead to mental-health issues and burnout. 

Lack of unions

While some artist unions exist, many creatives operate outside of organizations. This makes them vulnerable when injury or illness occurs. Often performers are only covered by unions when they’re on the job, leaving them without support for long periods. 

Workers’ compensation is often unavailable for artists

Workers’ compensation protects workers if they are hurt or injured while at work. It’s an insurance benefit that state laws require most employers to pay into. The benefit helps pay for medical bills, lost wages, and injuries for injured workers. But it only covers certain types of workers. So how does workers’ compensation work for artists?

Suppose artists are employees of a business such as a theater, hotel, film production, or nightclub. In that case, their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance will cover them. Most artists, however, are freelance. This means they’re not considered employees, so worker compensation laws don’t apply. 

Specific worker’s compensation insurance is available for entertainers, but the cost is high. Also, solo performers who don’t have employees aren’t required to carry coverage in most states. 

Having too many skills can create legal loopholes

As mentioned above, many creatives hold additional jobs to help pay the bills between performances or projects. Many actors, dancers, musicians, and creative performers work as contractors or waiters on the side. This can also leave them vulnerable when injured in one line of work, interfering with their employment in another industry. 

Boards can also deny workers’ compensation claims if they hold many jobs. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help sort through the process and help you file for the coverage you need. 

Also, an injury can affect a performer in a different way than other people. Many workers can continue to do their jobs if they have a sore ankle or leg injury. If dancers or gymnasts are injured, they can’t perform at the high level that their industry and the art form require. This means the criteria for injuries are different. So even if a dancer can walk, they may not be able to perform. 

How a workers’ compensation attorney can assist artists

Artists and creatives injured at work are often in a vulnerable position. A skilled employment law attorney can help review their case and determine the best way to file a claim. 

Talk to an employment law attorney if you’re an artist or creative injured at work. They can tell you how to file your claim and help you navigate the process.

LegalASAP can connect you with our network of experienced and trustworthy workers’ compensation attorneys. We’ll help you find someone in your area who is available to review your case and help find the best possible outcome. Take our free evaluation today to see if you qualify.