Olivia Jackson, the stunt performer left with life-changing injuries after an accident on the set of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, has won a court judgement in South Africa against a company claimed to have been negligent. Jackson, who lost her left arm and suffered other severe injuries in a motorcycle crash while filming the movie, has been pursuing a legal case about the accident, which took place in 2015.
Jackson brought a suit against Resident Evil producers Paul W.S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt in Los Angeles last year, alleging that the stunt was improperly planned, whereby a camera was not moved before she crashed into it. In addition, Jackson claimed that the producers had not taken out enough insurance to cover her subsequent medical problems, and misled her about follow-up support. That suit was dropped when the producers pointed to Davis Films, a South African company, as being liable and having already paid out a sum to Jackson.
In the new case in South Africa, the High Court has ruled that Bickers Action SA, the company in charge of the camera and filming vehicle, did not plan the stunt properly. The court also threw out Bickers’ defence that Jackson’s motorcycle skills were at fault.
Speaking after the ruling, Jackson had this to say:
“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.”
We’re happy that Jackson has finally made some headway in her legal case, having previously argued that the Resident Evil producers had effectively washed their hands of the incident, including in terms of how much insurance she was due. Although it does seem that the legal case isn’t quite over, as the decision is being described as only the latest ruling, Jackson now has some validation that she was the victim of negligence.
At the very least, her case and struggles in court shows the need to appreciate the contributions of stunt performers, particularly in environments where the safety precautions may be overlooked. We’d also hope that Paul W.S. Anderson and the other producers behind Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and the globally successful movie franchise are willing to be more diplomatic about the case now that Jackson has won this hearing.