The exclusive remedy is no remedy for injured workers in the Entertainment Industry. The safety net is failing workers who are left unprotected from employers who make TV shows from clips and interviews. This industry shows a pattern of dangerous behavior that puts workers at risk. UNSAFE working conditions prevail, insurance is worse than worthless.
The person who creates their television product is a screenwriter. For every great show you watch on TV, there is a person who quietly compiled a complex matrix of original text, integrated interviews and sound bites to spin action and drama into the dry, pre-recorded clips. The script that is written then acts as the playbook that is followed by the editors in post-production. The written product is the framework of the show. Without the writer, they have no product and all the self -important people who run around have nothing to produce or deliver.
The writer is key to the production but gets very little respect.
Writers have been routinely abused in this industry. Their writing fees have been progressively reduced as the technical demands have multiplied. Full time employment is rare and benefits non-existent. The production company has only a few full-time employees and hires temporary staff as needed to avoid overhead. Like construction companies, they compete with many other aggressive companies to vie for the chance to produce a product they must complete on tight schedules. They briefly hire and temporarily use creative talent as needed with little regard to the laws in place to protect them. They are required to provide Workers Comp insurance for this risky employment behavior as the exclusive remedy for those workers. But this remains no remedy for most injured workers and their families because the Workers Comp insurance policy is useless.
In a rush to produce their product, Television production staff disregard all labor laws and inflicted unthinkable duress on temporary workers. But when the worker gets injured on the job and is not able to complete the assignment, they quickly take his pay to hire another writer, without a thought or care if he had lived or died. This is surely depraved, but is it legal? According to their Workers Comp attorney, it is just they way they do business.
Is the framer of a house protected when he falls off the building attempting to do the work without sleep? Aren’t there any laws to protect these workers? Our lawyer tells us the exclusive remedy is workers comp. Sadly, it is not a remedy, just a legal nightmare to add injury to the injured and allow Insurance companies to collect premiums for nothing.
The laws of Workers Comp as I understand them are currently being manipulated by insurance providers to avoid paying any and all claims. All the insurance company has to do is deny the claim and choose instead to pay attorneys to shirk their responsibility. I believe this to be their legal strategy to avoid any and all legitimate claims.
I personally can attest to four years, 700 miles and dozens of doctor reports later, Insurance provider still won’t believe this injured worker is actually injured. Lengthy hospitalization, brain surgery, medical assessments, personal bankruptcy and SSA disability isn’t enough for them. In my experience, after proving the case with one set of lawyers, Insurance provider again refused the facts of the workers claim and simply hired a new attorney to further delay the process. New attorney then begins the case anew demanding more things to try and disprove this injury and undermine this claim. They continue to browbeat the injured worker further with unreasonable demands, additional depositions and even more intentional delays. Clearly the premiums they charges are not protecting injured workers, they are used to pay attorneys to avoid claims for legitimate injuries.
If this is the exclusive remedy then the worker is completely unprotected and Workers Comp insurance providers are committing a fraud collecting premiums for policies that do not perform as promised. Can abuse of the system be stopped? I will continue to write on this topic until I find someone to help me resolve this endless horror.