E! Online is reporting that Gabriela Cedillo's family has reached an $18 million settlement with Paramount and Dreamworks. On September 1st, 2010 Mrs. Cedillo was injured while an extra in her car as part of the highway sequence in Hammond, Indiana when a towing cable snapped, burst through the windshield and hit her head. Initially Paramount refuted accounts of event and was cleared of any wrong doing. While the press did make an effort to make it seem production made errors, nothing has been proven of negligence but there is a lot we still don't know. A lawsuit was filed shortly after that on October 5th, 2010.
Initially Paramount had said they would pay for medical bills related to the 26-year-old's injury but her lawyer Todd Smith said they did not stating "They are all about the bottom line. They wanted their movie out and they didn't want this clouding the issue." While this is probably true, to be fair once the lawsuit was filed Paramount lawyers would have ordered everyone involved with DOTM to say and do nothing further about the accident as any comments and actions could be used against them in a trial.
Regardless of the lawsuit, the medical bills continued to mount reaching over $350,000 and sadly likely continue for the rest of her life. According to Smith, "A large part of her brain was lost. She has difficulty with memory. She can't remember when she went to the bathroom five minutes earlier. ...She is on her feet and talking and for that we are thankful. On the other side, she has significant cognizant impairment and with a period of hallucinations. …She is going to have issues for the rest of her life."
Update: It seems the Cedilla family can thank Michael Bay for their settlement. Just not in the way you might think or prefer. According to Deadline, the reason that Paramount went from legal manuvers (like move case to California) to settlement discussions is because Michael Bay and Platinum Dune production company were going to be added to the lawsuit. That led to settlement talks that reached a solution fairly quickly by end of March. It just took until now for the paperwork to work its way through the court pipeline.
I don't think the goal was to protect Bay. The studios always think in terms of money so the only thing they want to "protect" is their bottom line. My guess is bringing him and his company into the mix would have resulted in conflict of interest (Bay forced to work against Paramount to protect himself and his company) that might have helped the Cedilla case and therefore reach a larger judgement for the family.
From this you might be asking "why settle?" One, if Paramount decided to fight this, the case could go on for years just for the initial trial and much longer if factor in appeals. Years the family simply can't afford to wait out. Also juries are simply unpredictable. It doesn't matter how strong a case is, all it takes is one juror to reach a different conclusion. Neither side knows if that will happen to them. For the family that gamble might lead to huge doctor bills and huge lawyer bills with anything to show for it. For Paramount it means lots of bad press and potential of a judgement much higher then the settlement. Why gamble on a unpredictable outcome if you can reach a middle ground that both sides are happy with through a settlement?
In the end, while this settlement will fix nothing, it will hopefully allow Gabriela and her family the chance to focus on healing as much as possible. Best wishes to her and her family.