Back in 2009, the rock band Poison was performing onstage at the Tony Awards, an annual show that recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. Immediately after the band finished their song and began exiting the stage, singer Bret Michaels sustained a serious injury as he made his exit. The incident, which was captured on television, showed Michaels taking a significant blow to the head as he attempted to exit the back of the stage. CBS was the network hosting the show, and Michaels eventually pursued monetary compensation in the form of a personal injury lawsuit against the network, alleging that he did not receive clear instructions on how to exit the stage safely. Organizers of the Tony Awards were also involved in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also included a complaint that CBS went ahead and aired the entire incident unedited, which broadcasted the accident for millions to see. Because of the nature of the incident, the video became viral, which Michaels and his team claim was only shown for increased ratings. The show’s celebrity host, Neil Patrick Harris, also made light of the situation by immediately joking about the injury after it happened. Michaels went on record saying that he felt it was unfortunate that Harris did not take the situation seriously when it was unclear at the moment just how much damage had been done.
Because he was not given clear instructions on where to stand during the performance, as well as how to safely leave the stage at the end of the performance, he was hit in the face and head by a descending set piece. In addition to a busted lip that required three stitches, X-rays showed that the mishap caused him to break his nose. Several months later, he also experienced a brain hemorrhage, which Michaels claims was a direct result of his onstage accident. Michaels claims that the hemorrhage nearly killed him when he was hospitalized in 2010, and he also suffered a warning stroke later on, which Michaels states he almost died from. Also known as a ministroke, one in three people who have these attacks eventually have strokes, which can potentially result from head trauma. Like many other similar personal injury cases, this is just a clear example of how injuries from accidents are not always apparent right away. Sometimes, they take months (or even years) to worsen or manifest.
Backstage, CBS initially claimed that Michaels was making light of the situation as well, and was also laughing about the entire incident. The show’s official social media accounts even made false claims by saying that Michaels did not sustain any serious injuries from the incident and that he was only “scraped.” However, Michaels released a statement shortly after the incident, criticizing the network and the producers of the show for neglecting to provide a warning about the set changes that could potentially put his safety in jeopardy. The statement also criticized Harris’s cavalier response to the incident. He also rejected claims that he was laughing about the situation, and that even after he had fallen down from being hit with the set piece, the prop’s riggers continued to lower it down.
Michaels initially pursued his lawsuit in 2011, approximately two years after the incident occurred. The lawsuit originated in Los Angeles, but it was eventually moved to New York City. After a mediation session, the lawsuit eventually settled three years later in 2012 for an undisclosed amount. His attorney, Alex Weingarten, has stated that the terms of the lawsuit will be kept private, but that all parties reached an amicable resolution. The details surrounding how much money Michaels and his attorney were seeking when they initially filed the lawsuit have also remained private. Because there is a clear video that documents the extent of this injury and proof that Michaels was, in fact, accidentally injured while on stage for the entire world to witness, it is likely that he received a significant settlement. It is not known if a structured settlement or a lump sum was given for this settlement.
When accidents and injuries result from what was clearly negligence of another, there is often no denying that the injured individual’s pain and suffering could have been avoided and that another party should be found liable. When large monetary awards are given in these types of situations, they are often awarded in the form of structured settlement payments. Unlike a lump sum, structured settlements are smaller, regularly scheduled payments that are made to plaintiffs over a fixed period until the entire settlement is paid out. While many plaintiffs prefer structured settlement payments, at least initially, things sometimes change. These payment schedules often last for several years, so if you are the recipient of a structured settlement payment stream and you’d like to learn more about your other options, contact us today. You may be eligible to sell some or all of your future structured settlement payments for a lump sum of cash.