The mother of a stuntman who died after falling 20ft from a balcony onto a concrete floor while filming zombie drama The Walking Dead is taking legal action.
John Bernecker, 33, passed away on 12 July after succumbing to a head injury sustained days earlier. The 6' 1" stuntman's cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma.
Susan Bernecker filed a wrongful death suit on Tuesday (23 January) in Gwinnett County State against the show's network AMC and other parties, saying his death could have been prevented.
She claims that AMC Networks Inc. "orchestrated and enforced a pattern of filming and producing 'The Walking Dead' cheaply and, ultimately, unsafely".
AMC is also accused of pressuring production company Stalwart Films to work with unreasonably low budgets, which led to inadequate safety precautions.
Susan, who is seeking a jury trial and asks for punitive and compensatory damages as well as attorney fees, hopes that taking a stand will force film and television companies to improve safety standards for stunt performers.
"My goal is to do everything I can to protect other stunt performers and to ensure their safety on the set in the future," she said in a press release. "The industry is not doing enough to maintain basic safety guidelines for these performers. Worst of all, they're scared to speak up."
Addressing the lawsuit in a statement to AP, AMC said the " safety of our employees on all of our sets extremely seriously, and meet or exceed industry safety standards".
Besides his work on The Walking Dead, Bernecker screen credits also included films Logan and the Fantastic Four. He also appeared as an actor in True Detective and Forerunner.
The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on 25 February.