When one goes to see a show such as Cirque du Soleil, spectators see a performance that allows them to retreat into their imaginations for a while. What they don’t necessarily see, however, are the injuries that can affect so many of the performers. According to OSHA, Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas show has been ranked 79th most dangerous workplace out of 52,000 nationwide. The injury rate for these performers is four times greater than professional sports teams. Additionally, in many cases, performers do not receive just compensation and will never be able to perform again.
While many of the injured performers receive Worker’s Compensation, the system is not geared toward the specific nature of performance, and companies such as Cirque du Soleil do not have provisions in the performers’ contracts like those of professional athletes. This means that many of these performers will be left without adequate compensation for their injuries and an inability to earn a living. In one case, a performer’s pay dropped 85% after her injury due to the cap placed on Worker’s Compensation payouts. The price tag placed on her permanent ankle damage was $170,000, after she disputed the initial $45,000 she was offered. Due to her injury, the former Olympian will never be able to perform again.
In another tragic case, a performer was killed when her harness did not work properly. Despite the performer’s concern about the equipment, the company did not take proper safety precautions. After an OSHA investigation, the company and the casino in which it was housed were fined for safety violations. The company also settled a lawsuit with the performer’s children.
Being a performance artist can be a dangerous occupation and result in serious injury. If you are a performer who has been involved in a work related accident, contact an attorney who has experience dealing with these matters and will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call the attorneys at McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP for a consultation at (866) 557-7500