The last installment of the Resident Evil film franchise was called The Final Chapter, but even though the movie came out in 2016, the story has been far from over. During production, stuntwoman Olivia Jackson suffered a serious injury that left her in a coma and resulted in her needing to have her arm amputated. Jackson sued the production, and a South African court has now ruled in favor of Jackson.
The stunt in question saw Olivia Jackson standing in for Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich and had her riding a motorcycle at high speed toward a camera truck. The boom arm of the track did not lift in time and Jackson collided with it. The injury put Jackson in a coma for 17 days in addition to requiring the amputation and causing several additional injuries. She filed a lawsuit last September in Los Angeles against several involved parties, including director Paul W.S. Anderson, that lawsuit was dismissed in November.
The ruling in South Africa, where filming was taking place when the accident occurred, finds that the stunt was negligently planned and executed by Bickers Actions SA, the South African company responsible for it. The defendants had argued that Olivia Jackson's motorcycle riding was at fault but the judge dismissed that argument.
Olivia Jackson's court filing argued that last minute changes were made to the stunt, without her knowledge, leading to the accident. As such, the judge in the case said that Jackson had not voluntarily assumed the risk of the stunt, according to THR.
The insurance covering the production was, according to Jackson's filing, insufficient to cover her injuries, which makes the financial side of this judgement likely all the more important. However, the damages being requested were not specified.
While movie productions certainly want to take precautions to make sure stunt people are safe, there are always going to be accidents, but we've seen a lot of very serious injuries, and deaths in recent years. Olivia Jackson's injuries are some of the most severe. However, stunt people working on The Walking Dead and Deadpool 2 actually died on set when stunts went wrong. Other stunt performers on films like the upcoming F9 have also experienced serious injuries.
If nothing else, hopefully this judgement will help bring a greater spotlight on stuntpeople and the risks that they take. Any and all possible precautions need to be taken to protect them, as they are the ones taking the biggest personal risks on the set. It's largely because of them that we have the great action scenes that fans love so much. They should be both protected and recognized for the work that they do and the risks that they take.
In a statement Olivia Jackson says she is glad that she has the judgement stating that she was not at fault for the accident.