(GEORGIA) — After two days of deliberation, a Gwinnett County, Georgia jury awarded the estate of stuntman John Bernecker $8.6 million stemming from Bernecker’s July, 2017 death from a fatal fall on the set of The Walking Dead, according to Deadline.
AMC Networks were found “not to be negligent” in the death of the stuntman, in a unanimous decision.
Bernecker fell 22 feet from a balcony in a stunt for the zombie series, but instead of hitting a safety pad, he struck a concrete slab with his head and neck and later died.
“John was a remarkably talented stunt professional who had an incredibly bright future in the film industry,” Jeff Harris, a lawyer for Bernecker’s family said following the verdict. “My sincere hope is this verdict sends a clear message regarding the need to both elevate and strictly adhere to industry safety standards every day, on every shoot, on every film set.”
“John’s tragic and preventable death happened as a result of a series of safety-related failures. Learning from these failures will go a long way in making sure that similar tragedies do not happen to another performer or another family,” he added.
“There is no winning or losing in this situation, this was a terrible and tragic accident and our sympathies continue to go out to John Bernecker’s family and friends,” said AMC in a statement, which was obtained by Deadline following the verdict.
“The set of The Walking Dead is safe and is managed to meet or exceed all industry standards and guidelines related to stunts and stunt safety,” the statement continued. “That has been the case across the production of 10 seasons and more than 150 episodes, and it continues to be the case today, notwithstanding this very sad and isolated accident.”
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