Injured Transformers extra gets $18.5 million settlement

I have to cover news, and sadly, not every story can be puppy dogs and ice cream and Zac Efron getting peed on. This one is much less fun. You may remember Transformers 3 extra Gabriela Cedillo, who was left with brain injuries after an accident on set. Her family sued Paramount, and now the LA Times is reporting that she received an $18.5 million settlement.

Gabriela Cedillo, 26, was driving a car in a background scene when she was struck in the head by a stunt vehicle that broke lose from a cable during filming.
The accident on Sept. 1, 2010, left Cedillo with permanent brain injuries. The Chicago resident had a portion of her skull removed and suffers from memory problems, seizures and is blind in one eye, according to her attorneys.
Cedillo sued Paramount Pictures in October 2010 alleging that the accident was negligently caused by a poor welding job and that Paramount had reneged on an agreement to cover medical costs. This week a Cook County judge approved the settlement.
“They led everyone to believe they were going to take care of her medical bills. They didn’t and she was forced onto a public aid,” Todd Smith, a Chicago attorney who represented Cedillo, said in an interview. “While they make their billions of dollars in gross revenue from the movie, taxpayers are paying medical bills for her.” [LA Times]

The woman, now 26, has permanent brain impairment.  “She lost about a third of the top of her head,” Smith said. Her initial bills totaled $350,000 in 2010. [NBCChicago]

A source tells Deadline that the lawsuit filed in October 2010 would have gone on longer if Michael Bay’s name hadn’t been thrown into the legal mix. But the possibility that the director and his Platinum Dunes production company suddenly were to be pulled in as defendants apparently lit a fire under Paramount to speed a settlement. Today’s news comes after a year and a half of legal maneuvering, including attempts by the studio to move the case from Illinois to California, as well one already failed mediation. Then Paramount approached Cedillo’s attorneys early this year seeking a second mediation. It took just a couple more meetings between the lawyers for the settlement to be reached in late March. [Deadline]

You’d hope with a movie that grosses more than a billion dollars worldwide that you wouldn’t have to sue the studio to get a big settlement out of them for lopping off part of someone’s head, but hey, I guess lawyers gotta eat.