Stunt performer Olivia Jackson, who suffered career-ending injuries during a motorcycle crash on the set of 2016’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, has finally won her legal case in South Africa, gaining vindication for the accident in which she was severely hurt. The U.K.-based stunt performer’s lawsuit had been against Bickers Actions SA, the South African filmmaking company that was operating the camera and moving vehicle involved in her crash and subsequent injury.
Jackson, who was a stunt double for Resident Evil franchise star Milla Jovovich, was injured during a motorcycle-riding stunt sequence, when she collided with “a crane-mounted camera vehicles traveling in the opposite direction,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. That collision was extremely severe, leaving her in a coma for 17 days, during which time her left arm had to be amputated above the elbow. The accident also left her with significant neurological damage and a plethora of other injuries, which formed the basis of Jackson’s suit. Also significant: The fact that the oncoming crane-mounted vehicle was supposed to be further away from Jackson, and had been in rehearsal, before director Paul W.S. Anderson reportedly asked to “decrease the safety margin from the rehearsal run to the incident run in order to get a more exciting shot.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this first resulted in Jackson attempting to bring a lawsuit against Anderson and producing partner Jeremy Bolt, but the pair filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that Jackson’s “American lawyers are suing the wrong people in the wrong place.” Suit was then brought against Bickers Actions SA in South Africa instead, which finally resulted in the ruling in Jackson’s favor—an important precedent for stunt performers, whoa are so often treated as expendable or responsible for their own safety by the film industry. Defendants in the suit had argued that Jackson’s own motorcycle handling had been at fault, but a judge ruled against that reasoning.
“I miss my old face,” said Jackson in a statement after the ruling. “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.”
“This judgment is an important recognition that stunt performers are not themselves inherently responsible, nor willing but disposable volunteers when something goes wrong,” added Julian Chamberlayne, Jackson’s lawyer. “Like all workers they are owed a duty of care by those responsible for the safest possible performance of the stunt.”