Woman injured during filming of ‘Transformers’ movie wins $18.5 million

By Jim Jaworski, Chicago Tribune
Posted May 23, 2012, at 8:50 p.m.

CHICAGO — A 26-year-old woman is being awarded $18.5 million after an on-set accident during the filming of the third “Transformers” movie left her seriously injured, her lawyer said Wednesday.

On Sept. 1, 2010, Gabriela Cedillo was an extra during a scene being filmed with stunt vehicles when her attorney said a cable snapped, passed through her vehicle and struck her in the head.

Since then, her attorney Todd Smith said she suffered significant brain impairment and has had several surgeries after the piece of metal took off about a third of her skull and a portion of the right side of her brain. Her brother, Rudy Romo, said her long-term prognosis is unclear.

“We don’t know,” he said. “We have a long road ahead of us.”

Smith said Cedillo was in her own vehicle on Cline Avenue in Hammond, Ill., as one of about 80 extras hired for the scene. A truck was pulling an unoccupied stunt vehicle that was supposed to roll over during the scene, but the cable snapped, which Smith alleged was due to shoddy welding. An attempt to film the scene the previous day failed, and Smith alleged the production company, Paramount Pictures, was more concerned with the bottom line than ensuring the safety of the extras during the second attempt.

“Our view was that, if you do welds properly, things like this don’t happen,” Smith said.

Smith and Romo said Cedillo needs 24-hour care, and has had hallucinations, memory loss and significant cognitive difficulty. While she does have limited walking ability, she has lost some movement on the left side of her body.

A portion of the settlement will be set aside for monthly disbursements to ensure she has care for the reminder of her life.

(c)2012 the Chicago Tribune

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