Actors’ injury guide

When you’re a professional in acting or with the performing arts, your body is your most important asset. If you have an injury though, what should you do? It’s a worrying time, and knowing whether you can make injury claims or how long you will be out the game is important.

How common are acting injuries?

Acting is an intense profession, and this means that a whole multitude of problems can occur at any time. From small strains to big injuries, it’s crucial to keep on top of things. A study by the Department of Neurology at the University of Texas found that 46% of performers in the West End would suffer at least one injury during productions.

Of these injuries, dancers were most likely to get lower extremity injuries and almost half of all actor injuries were back and neck related. The diagnoses tend to be strain and sprains, while the majority of performers class injuries as preventable. According to this research, you are most likely to be at risk if: you are female, have previous injuries on your records, perform on tough/angled stages and play roles that are demanding.

Can we prevent acting injuries?

The truth is that the entire premise of the industry means that theatrical injuries cannot be fully prevented. Chances can be lowered but never stopped, and things like a broken foot and heat stroke can have a long-term effect on an actor’s career. So, if you look after yourself and relax when you feel tired then that’s the best way of lowering the risk of injury.

Whether an injury causes you problems personally or professionally, you are likely to have grief. Even casual runners suffer from this. Denial is normal but you need to be able to accept that you are injured. If you don’t accept an injury then it may well cause longer damage – which will be your fault in the eyes of the court. Feel free to be angry but try to channel it into something positive.

How do you know when to claim?

The thing with acting injuries is that it can be confusing who is at fault and whether you can – or should – claim some action. Not every case is the same as the 16 actors injured on the Resident Evil movie set back in October last year, but you should consider anything that has happened to you and see whether you can make a claim to recoup anything from negligence to loss of earnings. Here’s what you have to do:

Report it straight away – Like it says above, people – especially those who are dependent on their bodies – will try to deny that they are injured and carry on. Don’t do this, get it checked out by doctor figure out if your insurance covers this.
Talk to an expert – Be honest with an advisor about what happened, what precautions you took and why this wasn’t your fault. They will document what happened and help you to decide whether to claim or not.
File a claim – Once you gathered evidence, spoken to your legal team, got a medical opinion and taken a statement from your employer you will be able to file a claim.