Stunt performer Olivia Jackson has won the latest ruling in her legal battle with one of the companies behind a botched stunt that took place while filming the 2016 film Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. The South African High Court ruled that the stunt that left Jackson with life-altering injuries was planned and executed negligently by Bickers Action SA, the company operating the filming vehicle and the camera. The court also dismissed the company's accusations that Jackson, who was riding motorcycle going at high speeds during the sequence, was at fault for the stunt going wrong. The stunt, which took place in 2015, put Jackson in a coma for 17 days. Her left arm was amputated. She still suffers from paralysis in the top left part of her body and is undergoing pain treatment.
"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.
According to a statement provided by Jackson's legal team, the stunt was concocted after rain scrapped plans for a fight scene. Jackson stepped in to film the motorcycle stunt. She collided with a crane-mounted camera operated by a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Jackson's team maintains that last-minute changes in planning resulted in the accident.
Julian Chamberlayne, a partner at Stewarts, the film 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 another suit in Los Angeles in September 2019 against the film's director, Paul W.S. Anderson, and producer, Jeremy Bolt, as well as their production companies. The suit accused them of breach of oral contract and misrepresentation, sating that the defendants "promised to provide full financial support for all medical expenses" but then "welched on their promise.". The suit was dropped after the defense argued that the matter needed to be resolved in South Africa, where the accident took place.