The family of a stunt man killed on the set of The Expendables 2 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the filmmakers and stunt coordinator on the set. The accident occurred while the 2nd Unit was filming on Lake Ognyanovo in Bulgaria. An explosion on one vehicle led to the death of a stunt man in a nearby vehicle. A second was critically injured but survived.

This accident came nearly 30 years after a tragic accident on the set of The Twilight Zone in 1982 changed moviemaking forever. In that accident, a lead actor and two children were killed in a helicopter accident as pyrotechnic explosions buffeted the craft and forced it down into the water, where it crushed one of the children and its blades cut the other two actors.

Wrongful death lawsuits in that case were settled out of court, but criminal charges against the director, helicopter pilot, and three others were pursued to trial. They were found “not guilty” of involuntary manslaughter, but the incident shook up movie culture forever.

After this incident, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) created an Injury & Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) intended to prevent future injuries and deaths. However, in general these rules only apply to domestic productions, and it’s unknown the extent to which they were being followed during the shoot in Bulgaria. We are not likely to know the full extent of negligence in this production until official investigations are completed.

All industries should have safety codes and practices in place to prevent injury and wrongful death in the workplace. If you have lost a loved one during an accident at work, workers’ compensation will likely prevent you from filing a wrongful death lawsuit against your loved one’s employer, but you may be able to file lawsuits against others involved.

If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, please contact Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA in Columbus, Ohio to learn about your legal rights and options.