Benetta Buell-Wilson was driving on an interstate east of San Diego in January 2002 when she swerved to avoid a metal object and lost control of her 1997 Explorer, which rolled 4 1/2 times. The mother of two was paralyzed from the waist down when the roof collapsed on her neck, severing her spine.
A jury initially awarded Buell-Wilson $369 million, including $246 million in punitive damages but courts twice cut the size of the award.
The $82.6 million approved by the appeals court Monday includes punitive damages of $55 million.
The Supreme Court wanted the appeals court to determine if its ruling was in line with an earlier Supreme Court decision overturning a $79.5 million punitive damages award in a tobacco case.