Whilst I might tell friends that my job as a personal injury solicitor is just like a courtroom drama and that I resemble Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men; the unsurprising reality is that a personal injury solicitor’s work is quite far flung from the glamour portrayed by Hollywood. However, once in a while, we can get close to stardom through the interesting clients that we represent.
I recently acted for an actor who was injured on a film set. They were struck by a horse controlled by a stuntman. They ultimately suffered serious injuries which required emergency surgery, for which they sought compensation.
Injuries and law suits arising from film sets are not uncommon. Last month saw reports of actor Letitia Wright sustaining injury filming the new Black Panther film. Recently Harrison Ford suffering an injury whilst filming the latest Indiana Jones blockbuster (recently filmed in Scotland, including a location opposite our Glasgow office). Whilst Wright and Ford may not want to bring an action, others might. There are reasonably regular reports of injuries to stunt actors in particular. Examples include serious injuries to stunt doubles to stars Daniel Radcliff and Charlize Theron. That is not surprising in a such a physically demanding and potentially dangerous role; but, as with any employee, persons injured whilst at work on a film set may be entitled to claim compensation if their accident was avoidable. Their employers owe them a duty of care and can be vicariously liable for negligent acts and/or omissions of their employees, where it causes them injury.
My client alleged negligence by those who directed them to work in such a close proximity to a horse; failure by those responsible for health and safety to properly risk assess their task; and negligence by the person controlling the horse. Whilst liability was denied initially, by raising a court action I was successful in obtaining a five figure settlement for my client.
It is tempting to be distracted by the uniqueness of such a case. However, in reality, injury on a film set differs little from, for example, injury on a construction site. The difficulty in establishing who might be responsible for different health and safety aspects, or control of different members of staff remains the same. As do arguments around risk assessments, training and foreseeability of injury. Considering the value our client’s claim also follows the normal principles. In addition to pain and suffering endured, we required to think about how their injuries affected their job and how it might make it difficult for them to obtain roles in the future.
Not every case is as dramatic as this. However, it serves as a good example of the extremely varied work Thorntons deal with and how, through our expertise, we are able to secure results for clients even when liability is denied.
Daniel McGinn is a Senior Solicitor in our specialist Personal Injury team. For further information, please contact Daniel on 01382 346207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can contact any member of the Personal Injury team on 0800 731 8434 or click here for more information.