UK-based stunt performer Olivia Jackson, who was left with life-changing injuries following a botched stunt while filming Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in 2015, has won the latest ruling in her legal fight against a company involved in the movie.
The South African High Court has ruled that the stunt, which saw Jackson riding a motorbike at high speed, was negligently planned and executed by the company operating the camera and filming vehicle, Bickers Action SA. It also dismissed that company’s allegations that Jackson’s riding was at fault.
“I miss my old face. I miss my old body. I miss my old life. At least I now finally have a court judgment that proves this stunt was badly planned and that it was not my fault,” said Jackson on the ruling.
“But it really hurts that I have to live with the aftermath of other people’s mistakes, when, aside from a short period of my hospitalisation in South Africa, none of the people who made those mistakes or profited from this film that made $312M have actually supported me financially.”
According to a statement issued by Jackson’s legal team, the incident took place when rain caused a planned fight scene to be abandoned, which led to Jackson stepping in to film the motorcycle stunt. They claim a last-minute change, which the stuntwoman wasn’t aware of, proved nearly fatal. Riding at high speed, a crane-mounted camera operated from a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction collided with Jackson, leaving her with severe injuries.
Jackson spent 17 days in a coma, and her left arm was amputated. She continues to suffer from paralysis of the top left quarter of her body and is still undergoing treatment for pain.
Julian Chamberlayne, Partner at Stewarts, which is representing Jackson, said: “Action movies that require people to carry out dangerous stunts should always be very carefully planned and performed. They should also be backed by insurance that can meet the very significant life-long losses that could be incurred by any member of the cast and crew who is seriously injured.
“This judgment is an important recognition that stunt performers are not themselves inherently responsible, nor willing but disposable volunteers when something goes wrong. Like all workers they are owed a duty of care by those responsible for the safest possible performance of the stunt.”
Jackson filed a separate suit in Los Angeles in September 2019 against director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt and their production companies for breach of oral contract and misrepresentation, which was dismissed after the defendants argued that the dispute needed to be resolved in South Africa.