Can a stunt double sue for on-set injuries?
Los Angeles movie-set accident attorneys know firsthand the price that stunt double actors pay for the personal injuries or death they suffer on-set when a stunt goes wrong.
While stunt double actors may expect to suffer an occasional broken bone or bruising in the course of the normal workday, stunt double actors don’t sign up to die on-set. So, when an actor is killed during the shooting of a movie scene, an investigation will help determine whether it is a wrongful death.
Americans love action on the silver screen and movies continually push the boundaries to capture jaw-dropping clips of seemingly impossible actions. In most cases, dangerous stunts are performed by experienced stunt double actors who are highly-trained for the task. But when a highly-challenging and dangerous stunt goes terribly wrong, everything must be reviewed to figure out why– and to assess liability– for the accident.
Like any workplace, a movie-set needs to be safe for all those working on the site. Dangerous stunts are generally repeatedly rehearsed and involve precise timing on the part of the stunt double, other actors, and crew in order to safely execute the scene. Failure to properly execute can result in catastrophic injuries or death.
Recently, a stunt double actress on the set of Deadpool 2 was killed when a helmet-less motorcycle accident scene went awry. The scene allegedly required the actress to ride a motorcycle out of a building and down a ramp that had been built over stairs before stopping at the stair landing. Reportedly, the actress did not stop the powerful bike and continued down another ramp past the designated stopping point, striking a concrete curb. She died after she “was thrown off the motorcycle and propelled through a plate glass window of a building”.
Some industry vets question whether the victim—a highly-experienced and successful black female motorcycle rider– may have been chosen more for her matching skin tone to the actress she was portraying than for her experience as a professional stunt double actress. In essence, picking her as a body double more so than a stunt double. Allegedly, the victim “had never been in a film or done any sort of stunt” and had experience riding bikes that were generally much less powerful. Most stunt double actors begin their careers performing less serious or dangerous stunts and– over time and with practice—gradually gain the skills and experience to land– and execute– the more lucrative and more dangerous stunt assignments.
To prevail in a wrongful death action, the closest surviving relatives of the victim (or those who may have relied on her financial support) must establish that her injuries and resulting in death were caused by the negligence of another person or entity. Wrongful death cases are complex with many factors determining who has standing to sue and what type of damages they may be entitled to recover. If liability is established, the victim’s final medical and burial expenses are generally paid, along with other damages which may include loss of care and companionship, loss of financial support from the victim, and more depending on the particular circumstances.
If you have been injured on a movie-set, or have been injured and any other accident, or if a loved one has been killed as the result of someone else’s negligence, the skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Law Firm of J&Y can help you attain the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our Los Angeles headquarters and our 21 offices throughout the state, we have the resources and experience to fight for you. While we can’t undo the accident, we can take action to ease the financial burden of your loss, so you can focus on healing.