$18.5 M Settlement for Injured ‘Transformers' Extra

A cable snapped during filming, crashing through the woman's windshield and hitting her head

A Cook County judge on Wednesday approved an $18.5 million settlement for a woman critically injured while working as an extra for "Transformers 3."

"She will be taken care of.  I wouldn't have resolved this case if I didn't think so," her attorney, Todd Smith said.

Gabriella Cedillo, then 24, was among about 80 extras driving their own vehicles on Sept. 1, 2010, in a vacated portion of Cline Avenue in Hammond, Ind., according to the lawsuit.

Attorneys for the aspiring actress said a cable pulling one of the stunt vehicles traveling the opposite way on the "Transformers" set snapped and crashed through Cedillo's windshield and hit her head. Her 2006 Toyota struck and slid along the roadway's median.

Her attorneys said a "completely inadequate superficial weld had been applied in a failed effort to secure the bracket to the [stunt] car." They also said Paramount Pictures and DreamWork’s Studios didn't have a permit for fireworks or explosive devices on Sept. 1.

"I think they were well aware of what was going on out there.  They were actually announcing on the radio, that, watch out for the debris.  The people were driving around, apparently, trying to dodge debris as they drove along," Smith said.

Cedillo was airlifted to a nearby hospital and underwent emergency surgery for a serious head injury. The woman, now 26, has permanent brain impairment.  "She lost about a third of the top of her head," Smith said

They said multiple lawsuits were filed seeking to avoid compensating Cedillo, who doesn't remember the accident.

Her initial bills totaled $350,000 in 2010.

The lawsuit states the movie studios originally said they would take care Cedillo's medical bills at Loyola University Medical Center but "did everything they could to avoid payment. Gabriela was forced onto Public Aid to pay for her medical bills."

Cedillo is currently undergoing therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. 

"We're hoping for the best, for her to continue her education, maybe some day get married and so on.  But, you know, we'll just have to wait and see," said her brother, Rudy Romo.

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