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Fatal accidents on dangerous film sets

On Behalf of O’Malley Tunstall PLLC | Dec 6, 2016 | Workers’ Compensation

North Carolina residents who have worked on film sets may be aware that film production can be risky. While working at unfamiliar locations for short periods of time, some producers do not prioritize safety due to time and budget constraints. In the past several years, there have been two fatal accidents that have put the issue of safety on film production sets in the news.

On Feb. 20, 2014, a 27-year-old woman was struck and killed by a train while working as a camera assistant on the independent film ‘Midnight Rider.” The film’s director-producer, unit production manager and first assistant director all pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and trespassing. The fatal accident occurred while the crew was shooting a scene on a railroad with no permission or film permit.

Another fatal accident on a film set took place in 2015 during filming of the Tom Cruise movie ‘American Made.” A pilot was killed in a plane crash after repeatedly informing producers that he did not have sufficient experience flying the plane that they wanted him to pilot. The pilot’s family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the film’s producers alleging that the flight was rushed in an effort to save money.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the number of serious accidents on film sets doubled from 2014 to 2015. People who have been injured in these types of workplace accidents should be entitled to receive benefits under their employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. However, in some cases where an employer’s flouting of safety regulations has been especially egregious, an injured victim may want to meet with an attorney in order to see if it would be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer.