Eight members of a traveling circus were injured (http://bit.ly/18SMI9L) in a Moberly, Missouri highway accident on September 5, when another driver rear-ended their vehicle. None of the circus acrobats were wearing a seatbelt, according to the Highway Patrol. Fortunately, it sounds like none of the injuries were life threatening, but they likely still have medical and other expenses. The question then becomes, do the performers have a claim against the driver for causing the accident?
From the story, it sounds like the acrobats were traveling as part of a circus caravan. That would mean they’re traveling as part of their job. So who would be responsible for their injuries? Because they were traveling for work, Missouri workers’ compensation may make a payout for the injuries. When some people think of workers comp, they automatically assume that they won’t be able to bring a lawsuit for the same injury. But while that may be true for a lawsuit against the employer, workers comp may not be the only source of recovery for the acrobats. They may also have the right to sue and recover from the other driver.
If the other driver was at fault for the accident, the case would be handled by a Missouri personal injury attorney in much the same way as any other accident case. Whether workers’ compensation should be applied for before or after the personal injury case is another question, but the case will otherwise be handled like any other accident case.
What kind of recovery can the injured travelers expect? It’s impossible to say for sure, but considering that they weren’t wearing seatbelts, they may have experienced head and spinal injuries and broken bones, all of which may give rise to a claim against the driver. They may even have a right to payment for their pain and suffering. The problem for the circus performers is that the other driver will probably claim that their injuries were a result of not wearing seatbelts, which could reduce what the performers can recover in damages.
It will definitely take an experienced personal injury attorney to unravel the situation and figure out what kind of claims the injured acrobats have against the other driver. In any case, an injury occurring as part of someone’s job should be considered from various angles, not just viewed as a workers’ comp insurance claim.