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Court victory for injured motocrosser stunt rider

UK-based stunt performer Olivia Jackson has won the latest stage in her long battle for damages following the life-changing injuries she sustained during the filming of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in 2015.

No.49 Olivia at Apex

The motocross rider, who used to regularly ride at Apex near Worcester, is a former model and accomplished Muay Thai fighter, and was horrifically injured on set in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Unexpected rain caused film director Paul Anderson to abandon a planned fight scene, with Olivia instead standing in for actress Milla Jovovich in a dangerous and technically complex motorcycle stunt. A last-minute change to the stunt, which Olivia wasn’t aware of, nearly proved fatal and caused horrific, life-changing injuries.

Happier times at the MX track

While riding a motorcycle at a high speed, a crane-mounted camera vehicle travelling in the opposite direction collided with Olivia.  The force of the blow was so intense that half her face was torn off, and she suffered multiple fractures, serious brain swelling and ruptured arteries in her arm and neck.  Olivia spent 17 days in a coma and her injuries were so severe that her left arm could not be saved and had to be amputated. She was also left with a painfully twisted spine, paralysis of the top left quarter of her body including her neck, a permanently dislocated shoulder, a severed thumb, punctured lungs and broken ribs.

Olivia as she is now

Four years on from the horrific accident 38-year-old Olivia who lives in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, launched a legal fight in South African High Court for compensation for her injuries.  On 1st April 2020, the court ruled that the stunt was negligently planned and executed by the South African company operating the camera and filming vehicle.  The judgment also robustly dismissed the defendants’ allegations that Olivia’s motorbike riding was at fault.

Following the ruling, Olivia 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 $312 million have actually supported me financially. It also astonishes me that they did not learn from the mistakes of my accident and the same team worked together only three years later filming Monster Hunters in 2018, due for release later this year.”

Olivia, married to British stunt performer and James Bond double Dave Grant, was newlywed when the accident took place.  She continues to undergo treatment and rehabilitation but still experiences constant pain and suffering.  Olivia’s biography, titled Olivia, written in conjunction with New York-based writer Shannon Nixon, is due to launch this year. 

Olivia also has plans to release a documentary about her recovery journey in the future. She’s still a huge motocross fan and former world champ Jamie Dobb, who now does some movie work, organised for her to meet Jeffrey Herlings at the British GP where the Dutchman gave her a race shirt.