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Photographer
Cody Augustine
Posts: 60
Vancouver, Washington, US


I was in a recent conversation with a model who was on TF shoot and mentioned she slipped on some mossy rocks and fell, messing her back up a bit. I didn't want to really pry into her personal affairs, but it made me kinda curious. Any thoughts/experiences on the personal liability of a photographer in such an instance?  I don't think I've seen a provision addressing this in typical TF model release forms.
Sep 29 12 09:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Edward
Posts: 2,462
Dallas, Texas, US


Cody Augustine wrote:
I was in a recent conversation with a model who was on TF shoot and mentioned she slipped on some mossy rocks and fell, messing her back up a bit. I didn't want to really pry into her personal affairs, but it made me kinda curious. Any thoughts/experiences on the personal liability of a photographer in such an instance?  I don't think I've seen a provision addressing this in typical TF model release forms.

Insurance is yur friend.

Sep 29 12 09:29 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rp_photo
Posts: 42,490
Houston, Texas, US


To me it would be no-fault / each party pays their own expenses just like any other casual activity between people such as riding bikes or playing tennis. An exception would be if the model was injured on photographer's property, the same as it would be for the other examples.

And why is it always assumed that the photographer is responsible? What if the model suggested the location?

John Edward wrote:
Insurance is yur friend.

Once pay and some sort of formal hiring are involved.

Sep 29 12 09:48 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fotografica Gregor
Posts: 4,107
Alexandria, Virginia, US


That is why I carry insurance - not only on all of my photography related equipment, not only a rider on the use of my vehicles for the photography business, but also liability coverage for personal injury of anyone I work with, and for property damage as well.
Sep 29 12 09:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
FlirtynFun Photography
Posts: 12,996
Houston, Texas, US


Keep in mind in the US, anyone can sue anyone for any reason. Insurance CAN be your friend...if you have the right kind of insurance. It's better to discuss this with your insurance agent and/or a lawyer.
Sep 29 12 09:54 am  Link  Quote 
Artist/Painter
sdgillis
Posts: 2,436
Portland, Oregon, US


The risks of an independent contractor.  Unless the photographer did something malicious, it's your own responsibility to take care of yourself on a site.  If you are asked to do something dangerous weight the options and say yes or no.

A home studio on the other hand the photographer might have liability insurance (like I do) and if the model is injured there is could be another story.
Sep 29 12 09:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,365
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


I agree with the insurance suggestion, but................my model agreement also states that the model is responsible for any personal injuries, whether we are in my studio or on location. its a full full paragraph of legalese which boils down to using common sense and not setting you or someone else up for an accident. Example: I want to do a shoot in a junkyard--a really really nasty junkyard. The owner wants a waiver regarding injuries--that makes him jeopardy smart. Next thought, does the model involved have a valid tetanus shot history [that would be a document from their physician]? overkill you say? tell it to a lawyer or a judge or a jury. Are you going to carry and apply insect repellant [ever see someone stung by a bee who is allergic to the stings-- for that matter, would you work outdoors with a model who has a known allergy to bee stings who does not carry benedryl shots?] will you have an assistant whose duties include watching for snakes and spraying around the vehicles with bug killer? are you carrying a first-aid kit that includes items for cleaning scrapes and cuts? overkill you say? talk to the judge. two things will trip you up--lack of preparation or taking responsibility for possible outcomes, or....trying to do things outside of your documented training and education--like a pyro  shoot when you have no credentials for that. just think it through.You could say that most of the things mentioned are the models responsibility. really? civil suits are hardly that simple. just sayin.
Sep 29 12 09:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rp_photo
Posts: 42,490
Houston, Texas, US


sdgillis wrote:
The risks of an independent contractor.  Unless the photographer did something malicious, it's your own responsibility to take care of yourself on a site.  If you are asked to do something dangerous weight the options and say yes or no.

A home studio on the other hand the photographer might have liability insurance (like I do) and if the model is injured there is could be another story.

This is exactly how I see it.

Sep 29 12 10:01 am  Link  Quote 
Model
LauraPaige
Posts: 204
Asheville, North Carolina, US


If I get hurt on a shoot, it's my fault. Sometimes I freak out a photographer when I want to climb something for a shot. "That looks dangerous, are you sure you want to do that?"
"I'm fine. If I break something, it's not your fault. I'm the one climbing."

Just my experience.
Fortunately nothing bad has happened yet. *knock-on-wood*
Sep 29 12 10:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rp_photo
Posts: 42,490
Houston, Texas, US


DG at studio47 wrote:
Are you going to carry and apply insect repellant [ever see someone stung by a bee who is allergic to the stings-- for that matter, would you work outdoors with a model who has a known allergy to bee stings who does not carry benedryl shots?]

Insect repellant only works against feeding insects such as mosquitoes, not those attacking or defending such as bees.

Many of the locations I use have bee risks, and I ask models about bee allergies during shoot planning.

My track record to date is a model getting a single sting on one shoot and me getting a single sting on two. In all cases it was a "wasp warning shot" where supposedly one "scout" tests to see if that's enough to deter the threat.

Sep 29 12 10:06 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rp_photo
Posts: 42,490
Houston, Texas, US


LauraPaige wrote:
If I get hurt on a shoot, it's my fault. Sometimes I freak out a photographer when I want to climb something for a shot. "That looks dangerous, are you sure you want to do that?"
"I'm fine. If I break something, it's not your fault. I'm the one climbing."

Just my experience.
Fortunately nothing bad has happened yet. *knock-on-wood*

My port and recent shoots are full of models like you smile

Sep 29 12 10:07 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Colorblinded
Posts: 651
Rochester, New York, US


LauraPaige wrote:
If I get hurt on a shoot, it's my fault. Sometimes I freak out a photographer when I want to climb something for a shot. "That looks dangerous, are you sure you want to do that?"
"I'm fine. If I break something, it's not your fault. I'm the one climbing."

Just my experience.
Fortunately nothing bad has happened yet. *knock-on-wood*

I've had that same reaction before to things some models wanted to do. 

Unfortunately not every person takes personal responsibility for their actions and I'm sure lawsuits in these situations do happen.

Sep 29 12 10:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Teila K Day Photography
Posts: 1,938
Richmond, Indiana, US


sdgillis wrote:
The risks of an independent contractor.  Unless the photographer did something malicious, it's your own responsibility to take care of yourself on a site.  If you are asked to do something dangerous weight the options and say yes or no.

A home studio on the other hand the photographer might have liability insurance (like I do) and if the model is injured there is could be another story.

A reason many photographers choose only to shoot on public access.

Sep 29 12 10:08 am  Link  Quote 
Model
LauraPaige
Posts: 204
Asheville, North Carolina, US


rp_photo wrote:

My port and recent shoots are full of models like you smile

big_smile

Sep 29 12 10:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fotografica Gregor
Posts: 4,107
Alexandria, Virginia, US


DG at studio47 wrote:
I agree with the insurance suggestion, but................my model agreement also states that the model is responsible for any personal injuries, whether we are in my studio or on location. its a full full paragraph of legalese which boils down to using common sense and not setting you or someone else up for an accident. Example: I want to do a shoot in a junkyard--a really really nasty junkyard. The owner wants a waiver regarding injuries--that makes him jeopardy smart. Next thought, does the model involved have a valid tetanus shot history [that would be a document from their physician]? overkill you say? tell it to a lawyer or a judge or a jury. Are you going to carry and apply insect repellant [ever see someone stung by a bee who is allergic to the stings-- for that matter, would you work outdoors with a model who has a known allergy to bee stings who does not carry benedryl shots?] will you have an assistant whose duties include watching for snakes and spraying around the vehicles with bug killer? are you carrying a first-aid kit that includes items for cleaning scrapes and cuts? overkill you say? talk to the judge. two things will trip you up--lack of preparation or taking responsibility for possible outcomes, or....trying to do things outside of your documented training and education--like a pyro  shoot when you have no credentials for that. just think it through.You could say that most of the things mentioned are the models responsibility. really? civil suits are hardly that simple. just sayin.

Has a lawyer gone over your model release?   I seriously doubt that a statement as you describe would hold up in a legal case especially if the model could allege that you exposed her to circumstances where a reasonable person would have seen the possibility of injury. 

-- I am not a lawyer --   but I've seen this sort of scenario before....

and 700 a *year* for insurance is a lot cheaper than fighting a civil claim regardless of its merits or eventual outcome.

Sep 29 12 10:09 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DEP E510
Posts: 1,571
Miramar, Florida, US


LauraPaige wrote:
If I get hurt on a shoot, it's my fault. Sometimes I freak out a photographer when I want to climb something for a shot. "That looks dangerous, are you sure you want to do that?"
"I'm fine. If I break something, it's not your fault. I'm the one climbing."

Just my experience.
Fortunately nothing bad has happened yet. *knock-on-wood*

Too much logic and common sense in this post...

Sep 29 12 10:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rp_photo
Posts: 42,490
Houston, Texas, US


The only thing a model release guarantees is a bit of hassle and "buzzkill" at each shoot. At group shoots they can become downright stressful.

They are seldomly needed (provided you don't sell images) unless some kind of remorse arises, but can usually be picked apart by a determined foe.

Based on all this, I've concluded that they usually aren't worth it.
Sep 29 12 10:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


I'm not sure why the form of compensation would affect liability in any way.

Is a photographer more responsible if he/she is compensating the model with cash vs. images? What if the model is paying the photographer for a shoot and the photographer gets injured? Is the model now responsible?

Or are people thinking because the assumption with a TF* is that both parties are equally responsible (collaboration) that it's no-fault?

I agree this situation is no-fault but I'm not sure I agree that that changes based on the form of compensation.
Sep 29 12 10:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ARA Photo
Posts: 487
Mountain View, California, US


Does the fact that you have insurance mean you are assuming responsibility for the actions of the model?
I'd be worried that after assuming that responsibility I wouldn't have insufficient insurance.
Seems like clearing snow from your paths in England. If you don't clear it then everyone who uses it, is at their risk, if you do and someone slips you can be sued for assuming responsibility.
Sep 29 12 10:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Swank Photography
Posts: 19,015
Key West, Florida, US


Cody Augustine wrote:
I was in a recent conversation with a model who was on TF shoot and mentioned she slipped on some mossy rocks and fell, messing her back up a bit. I didn't want to really pry into her personal affairs, but it made me kinda curious. Any thoughts/experiences on the personal liability of a photographer in such an instance?  I don't think I've seen a provision addressing this in typical TF model release forms.

I've had a few models "mildly injured" while shooting...one though...boy...hers was serious and needed medical attention immediately.

We were shooting out underneath a bridge (in the grass) and I asked her if she was ok with bugs. She stated yes.

Within a few minutes her face and hands swelled up like a balloon and she needed medical attention.

She later said she wasnt aware that she was allergic to anything.

Sep 29 12 10:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rp_photo
Posts: 42,490
Houston, Texas, US


ARA Photo wrote:

Sep 29 12 10:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Yan Tan Tethera
Posts: 4,178
Biggleswade, England, United Kingdom


rp_photo wrote:
I can believe it, since the UK has insane laws when it comes to guns and self-defense.

Please quote your sources on this.

I live in the UK and I'm not aware of any insane laws.

Sep 29 12 11:33 am  Link  Quote 
Model
JoJo
Contest Queen
Posts: 25,217
Clearwater, Florida, US


Fotografica Gregor wrote:
and 700 a *year* for insurance is a lot cheaper than fighting a civil claim regardless of its merits or eventual outcome.

Precisely – anyone with a good lawyer could cause a photographer’s expenses in a liability suit to be a tad more than the $700 annual cost of the policy.

Do the math – how much is it going to cost a photographer to just show up in court with council to defend even the most spurious liability suit.

Sep 29 12 03:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Lynn Elizabeth
Posts: 1,336
Coral Springs, Florida, US


LauraPaige wrote:
If I get hurt on a shoot, it's my fault. Sometimes I freak out a photographer when I want to climb something for a shot. "That looks dangerous, are you sure you want to do that?"
"I'm fine. If I break something, it's not your fault. I'm the one climbing."

Just my experience.
Fortunately nothing bad has happened yet. *knock-on-wood*

That is exactly how I am. I've climbed a tree in Miami that was over swamp lands and had some soft shell crabs on it. If I got hurt that was on me. My idea, I'm at fault.

Sep 29 12 03:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,365
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


Fotografica Gregor wrote:

Has a lawyer gone over your model release?   I seriously doubt that a statement as you describe would hold up in a legal case especially if the model could allege that you exposed her to circumstances where a reasonable person would have seen the possibility of injury. 

-- I am not a lawyer --   but I've seen this sort of scenario before....

and 700 a *year* for insurance is a lot cheaper than fighting a civil claim regardless of its merits or eventual outcome.

my model release was written by a lawyer with expertise in film,imaging, and entertainment. I have no doubt that it can be challenged in court--everything can be challenged and sometimes decisions are rendered on case history rather than a document. as far as 'seeing' the possibility of injury that's where you will be judged on how many precautions you planned and implemented. like I stated, having a model or anyone perform in a dangerous environment or situation is a judgement call. you can also be judged for preparing too much--the assumption is that you knew the dangers and proceeded despite all the risks, known and unknown. I owned several businesses where I carried personal liability insurance [about 2 million on average]. all the businesses were related to contact with clients/public and personal work with the same. I was also sent by employers to many legal education programs related to incidents, accidents, and lawsuits in the medical environment--one of the stiffest since you do dangerous procedures to patients every day. Thats why you sign your life away before a medical procedure--does that guarantee that a medical provider is off free if they injury you--absolutely not.documents and waivers are just a reasonable place to start documentation when you work with the public.

Sep 29 12 03:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,365
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


JoJo wrote:

Precisely – anyone with a good lawyer could cause a photographer’s expenses in a liability suit to be a tad more than the $700 annual cost of the policy.

Do the math – how much is it going to cost a photographer to just show up in court with council to defend even the most spurious liability suit.

absolutely true. liability insurance is dirt cheap compared to a personal injury lawsuit against you.

Sep 29 12 03:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Black Dog Studios RI
Posts: 279
Providence, Rhode Island, US


In short, yes, the photographer can be found liable for injuries to a model. In civil court, liability is apportioned, so the model might be 70 percent liable and the photographer 30 percent liable. (Numbers just examples) It's not an either-or situation.

Depending on jurisdiction, the most innocuous actions on your part can attach liability.

And the court will examine every minute action you took. I was involved in a lawsuit (as a witness only, thank God) where a young woman suffered a massive knee injury when another player slid into second base and they collided. The league got sued. The team sponsors got sued. The sliding player got sued. One question was whether his slide was what a reasonable person would consider appropriate in a coed, recreational softball league.

In another case, a nightclub burned down in Rhode Island, claiming 100 lives. Beer distributors were sued on the argument that a promotion they held contributed to overcrowding. Building material manufacturers were sued on the argument that their material contributed to the toxicity of the smoke. And they all settled for big bucks to avoid the cost of a trial and the potential of a much-more-expensive verdict.

Where personal injury is involved, anybody with any connection to the injury can be found liability, regardless of what commonsense would dictate.

As others have suggested: talk to a lawyer, talk to an insurance agent.
Sep 29 12 03:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,365
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


Sep 29 12 03:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,365
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


Sep 29 12 03:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,365
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


Black Dog Studios RI wrote:
In short, yes, the photographer can be found liable for injuries to a model. In civil court, liability is apportioned, so the model might be 70 percent liable and the photographer 30 percent liable. (Numbers just examples) It's not an either-or situation.

Depending on jurisdiction, the most innocuous actions on your part can attach liability.

And the court will examine every minute action you took. I was involved in a lawsuit (as a witness only, thank God) where a young woman suffered a massive knee injury when another player slid into second base and they collided. The league got sued. The team sponsors got sued. The sliding player got sued. One question was whether his slide was what a reasonable person would consider appropriate in a coed, recreational softball league.

In another case, a nightclub burned down in Rhode Island, claiming 100 lives. Beer distributors were sued on the argument that a promotion they held contributed to overcrowding. Building material manufacturers were sued on the argument that their material contributed to the toxicity of the smoke. And they all settled for big bucks to avoid the cost of a trial and the potential of a much-more-expensive verdict.

Where personal injury is involved, anybody with any connection to the injury can be found liability, regardless of what commonsense would dictate.

As others have suggested: talk to a lawyer, talk to an insurance agent.

this is truth. A woman I worked with lost her job, career, and paid a $30,000 settlement because a lawyer convinced a jury that she made a judgement outside of her educational expertise about which footstool would have been best to help a patient get off an exam table! When I worked with ER patients, they would get really upset when I would not allow them to get off of the ER stretcher to get on an exam table. statistics show that medical transfers are where a high number of patient injuries occur. having the patient move directly from a locked stretcher to a table top [rather than getting off the stretcher, then climbing onto a table] reduces the transfer injury rate and resulting lawsuits. do you have time to stop and quote all of this to patients? of course not. they would rather you risk your career than trust a medical professional.its ALL a crap shoot. risk is part of life period. part of the problem is that our society rarely recognizes a simple accident anymore--every situation REQUIRES that blame be assigned to someone.

Sep 29 12 03:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jhono Bashian
Posts: 2,432
Cleveland, Ohio, US


Yan Tan Tethera wrote:

Please quote your sources on this.

I live in the UK and I'm not aware of any insane laws.

good thing your not in the states.  some yankers will sue you for pre-existing conditions...  Liability insurance is cheap compared to spending a week in court...

Sep 29 12 03:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Darryl Varner
Posts: 725
Lexington, Kentucky, US


FlirtynFun Photography wrote:
Keep in mind in the US, anyone can sue anyone for any reason. Insurance CAN be your friend...if you have the right kind of insurance. It's better to discuss this with your insurance agent and/or a lawyer.

Good advice, especially since the handling of this sort of thing may vary depending on local jurisdiction. I owned an insurance brokerage for a number of years and based on my  experience, I'd advise checking with your personal insurance company. Just having "insurance" doesn't mean you're covered in all situations.
Also, generally speaking, including a hold harmless clause in a model release probably won't offer any real protection in the event of lawsuit.

Sep 29 12 03:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Loki Studio
Posts: 2,974
Royal Oak, Michigan, US


If the photographer is injured should the model provide insurance?  BTW I have full business insurance with injury protection.
Sep 29 12 04:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Katie ORear
Posts: 104
Farmington Hills, Michigan, US


If I was on a shoot and the photographer wanted me to stand in a certain spot that I felt was not safe, I would calmly tell the photographer so and if he or she insisted upon it and I got hurt it would be their fault. would I sue, no. But on the other hand If I wanted to stand in a spot that I was not certain was safe and I got hurt, well that would be my fault.

but it also depends on if the injury was shoot ending or not, if I slip and fall and am not seriously hurt I will most likely laugh about it dust myself off and continue the shoot.
Sep 29 12 07:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ken Marcus Studios
Posts: 8,470
Los Angeles, California, US


One day when I was out of town, an assistant of mine found a model on CL and invited her into my studio for a TF shoot.

I had expressly forbidden him from using my studio while I was away. He set up the shoot thinking that I would never know.

During the shoot, there was an accident where she fell and her shoulder was injured.

She required surgery for her rotator cuff injury and because I owned the studio where it happened, I was considered the 'deep pockets' and was sued.

Fortunately, I had insurance (never go without it) and my insurance company paid her a settlement of $130,000.oo

Needless to say . . . . my insurance rates went up after that !

They went up an additional $30.oo per year

The moral of this story is that if you are working with other human beings and there is even a remote chance that something might go wrong . . . Be Insured ! !

KM
Sep 29 12 07:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rdallasPhotography
Posts: 966
Norristown, Pennsylvania, US


rp_photo wrote:
To me it would be no-fault / each party pays their own expenses just like any other casual activity between people such as riding bikes or playing tennis. An exception would be if the model was injured on photographer's property, the same as it would be for the other examples.

And why is it always assumed that the photographer is responsible? What if the model suggested the location?


Once pay and some sort of formal hiring are involved.

Maybe since it's assumed rightly or wrongly that the photographer runs the shoot so he/she is responsible? Knowing hwo insurance companies work, their first question will be if this was a professional shoot. If you say there was any cash or property/ anything of value transacted, they will do everything to not pay under you personal insurence. I ran into that when I was doing furniture restoration. The rep tried to get me to say I was getting paid in cash. I wasn't. Then  he said "well did you get anything? You know brushes, finishing supplies, anything? I used my own materials. Had i said they'd given me the finishing supplies for the job and i didn't use them all and kept some after the job they'd have had a claim that I did receive compensation...ie I got paid and was professional. Then I would have had a fight. Not that they would have suceeded in denying the claim but they would have tried. I used to have home owner insurance but since i lost my house now I don't have insurance other than auto. It's something I've been wrestling with when I start shooting outside of a studio.

Sep 29 12 07:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rdallasPhotography
Posts: 966
Norristown, Pennsylvania, US


Fotografica Gregor wrote:
That is why I carry insurance - not only on all of my photography related equipment, not only a rider on the use of my vehicles for the photography business, but also liability coverage for personal injury of anyone I work with, and for property damage as well.

Is this because you own a studio and it's for the studio (and other locations related to shooting) or do you work mainly on location?

Sep 29 12 07:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ruben Sanchez
Posts: 3,460
San Antonio, Texas, US


Cody Augustine wrote:
I was in a recent conversation with a model who was on TF shoot and mentioned she slipped on some mossy rocks and fell, messing her back up a bit. Any thoughts/experiences on the personal liability of a photographer in such an instance?

The question isn't who's at fault or who's going to pay.  The question is how will the jury rule on this.

I think it'll come down to who was in charge of the shoot.  I've never done a shoot where the model was in charge, thus I see the photographer at fault.

Just saying.

Sep 29 12 07:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Eridu
Posts: 623
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Incorporate Into Model Release:

"Models assume all liability and responsibility for any physical injury resulting in collaboration between Photographer____________, and Model_____________,
inclusive of all medical costs incurred as a result of injury, resultiung loss of income and any other damned ass-saving indemnification I can come up with!"
Sep 29 12 08:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Art of the nude
Posts: 11,868
Olivet, Michigan, US


rp_photo wrote:
I can believe it, since the UK has insane laws when it comes to guns and self-defense.

Yan Tan Tethera wrote:
Please quote your sources on this.

I live in the UK and I'm not aware of any insane laws.

"Insane gun laws" are very much a matter of perspective.

But whatever the gun laws or their merits, they aren't relevant unless the model was shot.

Sep 29 12 08:58 pm  Link  Quote 
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