Everyone is aware that car accidents can cause serious and traumatic injuries.
Slightly less common injuries however, can be just as serious.
Some of those injuries can result in a lifetime of pain, limited mobility, and disability – especially injuries to the knee.
Car accident related knee injuries can be life-disrupting, making it extremely difficult to work, and enjoy previously cherished recreational activities.
Side-impact, head-on, and rollover accidents frequently cause debilitating knee injuries.
The keys to a successful medical claim regarding a knee injury lie in understanding common car accident-related knee injuries, their treatments, and costs.
It is imperative to seek prompt medical attention, while collecting important evidence of the other driver’s negligence.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to assist you with all facets of your injury claim.
Common Knee Injuries Related to Car Accidents
The knee is a complex joint – and injury can occur to numerous bones, ligaments, and tendons. Depending on the injury and the location, a knee injury can be difficult to recover from and require long-term rehabilitation and therapy.
- Kneecap Damage. This type of injury occurs when the side door, firewall, or window caves in during a collision and crushes the driver’s knee(s). When this happens, the clamshell-shaped bone inside the kneecap, referred to as the patella, can fracture. The patella shields the tendons and ligaments inside the knee, which surround the quadricep muscles running up the front side of each thigh.
Surgery is required to repair a fractured patella. The surgeon opens up the front of the knee and rebuilds the area with pins, wires, and screws, removing fractured pieces that are too small to repair.
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). More prevalent in side-impact collisions, ACL injuries occur when there is damage to the tendons and muscles of the knee. The varying force of impacts can cause pulling, twisting, or hyperextension of the tendons.
The ACL is the source of 70% of all car accident-related knee injuries. The ACL consists of dense soft tissue and is one of four ligaments whose purpose is to provide flexibility to the knee. In an uninjured knee, the ACL stretches and turns with the knee, returning to its original position when the action is completed.
- Medial Collateral Ligament Injury (MCL). Also called an MCL tear or sprain, this injury affects the ligaments that connect the top of the shinbone (tibia) and the bottom of the thighbone (femur). The MCL is located on the inside of the knee and adds stability and strength to the knee joint.
Damage to the MCL can be a stretch, partial tear, or a complete tear. Symptoms include swelling of the knee, locking, or catching with movement, and pain or tenderness along the inside of the joint.
- Meniscus Injuries. These occur when there is damage to the disc-like mass of soft tissue and cartilage located behind the knee. The force of a car accident could cause one or more of your menisci to rupture, resulting in a painful and crippling impairment. Even a slight tear can cause moderate pain.