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Midnight Rider Production Company Cited for 2014 Train Fatality

In February of 2014, during production of Midnight Rider, the now canceled biographical film about musician Gregg Allman, a camera assistant was tragically killed while trying to escape an oncoming freight train.  According to a September 2015 OSHA press release, the agency has upheld their earlier decision to cite and fine the production company for “willful, serious safety violations.” Southeast regional administrator Kurt Petermeyer commented: “Bad management decisions have real and lasting consequences, and when those decisions involve safety, the consequences can be tragic. The death of Sarah Jones is particularly disheartening because it was entirely preventable.”


On February 20, 2014, the film crew was shooting a scene on an active railroad trestle bridge above the Altamaha River in Wayne County, Georgia, when a freight train struck and killed 27-year-old Sarah Jones. Eight others were injured while fleeing the train.  The executive producer and assistant director were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass.  According to investigations, the film crew had entered the bridge without authorization (after the railroad repeatedly denied requests to access the bridge) prior to the accident.  The death of Sarah Jones gave rise to an awareness campaign calling attention to the issue of crew safety in the film industry.

Workplace Fatalities and the Law

Whenever a death occurs at the workplace it is a tragedy.  The victim’s family in these cases suffers irreparable harm, both emotionally and economically.  This is especially true when the deceased was the primary earner in a household.  While it makes many people uncomfortable to think about money in this context, the reality is that the families of accident victims deserve financial compensation for their loss.  The form that compensation comes in will vary from case to case.  In situations of extreme negligence, families may wish to pursue wrongful death claims in order to maximize their financial recovery.  In other cases where liability is not as clear or where the family cannot stand the emotional turmoil of litigation, workers’ compensation death benefits are available.  These benefits are paid quickly compared to wrongful death litigation, which is not guaranteed to succeed and can sometimes take years.  Every case is different, but some families cannot wait for a wrongful death case to settle after the loss of their provider.  They need money to survive now.  In these cases, workers’ compensation death benefits are often the best answer.

Let a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help

If you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident, you already have enough additional stress in your life without having to worry about how the family will continue to provide for itself.  Consult a trusted attorney with the wisdom and compassion to guide you through this difficult time.  Please call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers to discuss your case with us.  We have the experience to handle the legal aspects of this tragedy for you so that you and your family can focus on healing.  We will assess your case and discuss your options with you.  If workers’ compensation death benefits are the best option for you, we know how to process these claims quickly. Call us today.  Don’t let this tragedy ruin you and your family financially.


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Seth Bader
(678) 562-5595