'Transformers 3' Accident: $18.5M settlement for injured actress

May 23, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The studio behind ''Transformers 3'' will pay more than $18 million to Gabriela Cedillo. Cedillo was driving a car for a scene in that movie when the car was hit by a large piece of metal. It happened during filming in Hammond, Indiana.

Cedillo's injuries are major, and of course no amount of money can compensate for a lost future, but there was a lot of legal maneuvering to get this point, including the studio's original position that she should simply get worker's compensation.

Gabriela Cedillo was just finishing college in September, 2010 when the car she was driving in a Transformers 3 scene was struck by a piece of metal. It was attached to a tow cable to flip a stunt car in the westbound lanes of Cline Avenue in Hammond. Instead, the metal bar broke free, and it smashed through her windshield into the right side of her head.

"She has significant cognitive impairment," said lawyer Todd A. Smith. "She has gone through periods of hallucinations and difficulty with appreciating what's going on around her."

Her brother says Cedillo is now an inpatient at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago where she just had surgery to put in a new plate to replace the piece of skull that was shattered in the accident. She can walk, talk and feed herself, but her judgment is off -- her thoughts often come across to her as spoken words.

The $18.5 million is intended to take care of her nursing and rehabilitation needs for a lifetime, and compensate her for likely never working, marrying, or having children.

At least $5 million will be paid to the institutions that treated her because she had to go on public aid.

"There is anger, of course, but we just have to continue to stay positive for Gabi," said Cedillo's brother Adolfo Romo.

Smith says Cedillo will get about $15,000 per month, but a lot of that will be eaten up by the continuing medical costs.

The studio even attempted to get the case shifted to California, figuring a jury there would be more sympathetic to a movie studio.

Cedillo is expected to have a normal life expectancy.

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