It happened when aspiring actress Gabriella Cedillo was participating in a routine type of car stunt on the set of Transformers 3. The vehicle was supposed to flip over, but a cable came loose and crashed through her windscreen, ripping away a third of her skull and part of her brain. Now, after a year and a half of legal wrangling, Paramount have agreed to award her $18.5 million.
The lawsuit was complex because it was not a simple matter of compensating injury. The day before the accident there had been problems with the same stunt and it was alleged that proper safety precautions were not taken, with the company more concerned about meeting deadlines than about the safety of minor cast members or crew. The size of the settlement is likely to have implications for the way safety is prioritised on film sets in future.
With severe cognitive problems as a result of her injury, Cedillo will need lifelong care and it is doubtful that she will ever regain much independence. Part of her settlement will go towards refunding the state-supported medical services that saved her ife and got her through the first stages of recovery.