Skibiel Law

Film producer sentenced after fatal workplace accident on set

Following up on a blog post from March 6, 2014 about a fatality on a Georgia movie set ("On-the-job accident kills film crew member in Georgia"), the film director recently pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing and involuntary manslaughter in a Georgia court. This followed a workplace accident that resulted in the death of a 27-year-old camera crew member on the set of a film about Gregg Allman. The camera assistant was working on the railroad when she was struck by a train.

Under Georgia law, any person who commits a misdemeanor that leads to the unintentional death of another can be convicted of involuntary manslaughter. In this case, the misdemeanor was trespassing. The company that owns the railroad bridge where the accident occurred reportedly testified that permission for the film crew to step onto the bridge was refused on two occasions.

The director negotiated with prosecutors and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for charges against his wife to be dropped. He received a jail sentence of two years and probation for a further eight years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $20,000.

The tragic death of the young camera assistant inspired others who work behind the scenes on film sets nationwide to work toward obtaining higher standards of safety on sets. The immediate family of a Georgia worker who was killed in a workplace accident in any industry may pursue compensation in the form of death benefits from the workers' compensation insurance fund. If, however, a third-party was responsible for a loved one's death, the surviving family members may be eligible to pursue a civil claim for additional compensation.

Source:, "Allman Movie Director Pleads Guilty in Deadly Train Crash", Russ Bynum, March 10, 2015

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