A north Texas jury has awarded $18 million to the victim of a rollover auto accident involving an alleged drunk driver.

A jury in Dallas County has awarded $18 million in damages to a woman who was paralyzed in a rollover auto accident in 2012. According to the Dallas Morning News, the woman was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an intoxicated individual. In the lawsuit, the woman and her attorney claimed the driver was negligent in his actions, although the jury did find that she was partially responsible for her injuries.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through its SaferCar.gov initiative, reports that rollover accidents are more likely to result in death compared to other types of motor vehicle crashes. These complex accidents often stem from numerous factors, including the type of vehicle, road conditions and driver behavior.

Rollover accident risk factors

According to the NHTSA, taller and narrower automobiles like sport utility vehicles, vans and pickup trucks are more likely to be involved in rollover crashes, simply because their center of gravity is higher than other cars. Speed is also a significant factor, with about 40 percent of all fatal rollover accidents involving drivers exceeding posted speed limits. Additionally, about 75 percent of these crashes occur on roads and highways with speed limits at or above 55 miles per hour.

Alcohol is also a major issue leading to rollover car accidents, and even small amounts of alcohol consumption can impact a driver’s judgment and ability to make quick decisions to avoid a crash. Another negative driver behavior is distracted driving, which has become a particular concern in recent years as the use of cell phones has become widespread.

One interesting fact the NHTSA reports is that over 90 percent of single-vehicle rollover crashes occur while motorists are engaged in routine driving activities, such as going straight or moving along a curve in the road. This, according to the agency, provides further evidence that excessive speeds, alcohol impairment and distracted driving likely play key roles in these types of auto accidents. It’s also worth noting that about 85 percent of rollover accidents involve just one motor vehicle.

Injuries and fatalities

Because of the violent nature of many rollover crashes, these accidents tend to result in serious injuries or fatalities for drivers and passengers. Per NHTSA data, only about 2 percent of all auto accidents across the United States involved a rollover, but these crashes accounted for over one-third of all crash fatalities. Nearly 70 percent of these deaths involved individuals who were not wearing safety belts at the time of the accident.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a rollover accident, you may need to seek compensation from the individual who caused the crash, especially if he or she was intoxicated, distracted or otherwise negligent. To learn more about your legal options, speak with a skilled personal injury attorney in Mesquite, Texas.

Keywords: Texas, rollover accident