Olivia Jackson, the stunt performer who suffered horrifying injuries while making Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, has won a court case against a stunt firm in South Africa.
The South African High Court ruled in favour of Jackson, with Bickers Actions SA found to be negligent in the planning of an action sequence in which Jackson damaged her arm so badly it had to be amputated.
Jackson was working as a stunt double for Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich when she collided at high speed with a camera which was mounted onto a truck.
She spent 17 days in a coma following the accident, and suffered extensive injuries, including a severed thumb, a twisted spine, a punctured lung, a dislocated shoulder, broken ribs, facial scars, severe nerve damage and paraylsys in the upper left part of her body and neck.
Speaking after the ruling, Jackson said: “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.
“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.”
Defendents in the case, Gustav Marais and Roland Melville, maintained that the accident was due to Jackson's riding.
However, the court ruled that Jackson was not aware that last minute instructions had been given to Melville - who was uninsured and driving the vehicle with the camera - to alter the 'safety margin' from the stunt rehearsal in order to get a better shot.
Julian Chamberlayne, Partner at Stewarts, which represented Jackson, added in a statement: “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.”
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