Traffic accidents wreak havoc on a person’s body. One of the areas that is commonly damaged is the knee. Unfortunately, they are front and center when a crash happens. About 45 million people are injured in car accidents annually. In one study, 31 percent suffered knee injuries, and more than 50 percent of these were caused by the knee hitting the dash. Debilitating injuries such as a patella (kneecap) fracture makes it hard to walk or bend the knee.
Not only are such injuries problematic when they happen but can become the source of serious issues such as arthritis in the future, necessitating a knee replacement or other surgery. Let’s take a look at the knee anatomy, the types of injuries pertinent to the knees, liability and how an attorney can help an accident victim recover the compensation they deserve.
Common Knee Injuries From Car Accidents
The main types of knee injuries are:
- Knee sprain or strain: This occurs when the tendons, ligaments or muscles that are around the joint capsule are torn, stretched or damaged. To identify them in terms of intensity, the injuries are graded. They can be referred to as a grade one injury, where minimal pain occurs, grade two associated with mild pain or grade three that is defined as severe pain.
- Dislocation: This injury is rare. However, if it does occur, it can lead to serious problems such as the loss of blood circulation to the knee if there is a arterial blockage or direct damage to the artery. This can lead to necrosis (tissue death) and possibly amputation.
- Fracture: A fractured knee is painful and usually requires casting. However, in some cases, surgery is needed, mainly if the fracture is displaced. Serious fractures can cause arthritis in the years to come. If the patella or kneecap is fractured, this painful injury is referred to as a dashboard knee since the knee crashes into the dash. Other dashboard injuries involve posterior cruciate ligament tears.
- Ligament damage: The ligaments support the knee and help it move. Three main ligaments can be damaged. These are:
- The anterior cruciate ligament: This ligament supports the knee and gives it stability. Due to an accident, the anterior cruciate ligament can be damaged or torn. It is impossible to walk on the injured leg or place weight on it. Surgery is needed to repair the damage to the ligament. Medical treatment along with physical therapy will be needed after surgery.
- Medial collateral ligament: Damage to this ligament is the most common injury in car accidents and sports. If the injury is due to a sprain or tear, the person may feel tingling along the inner aspect of the knee. It requires surgery and physical therapy.
- Posterior cruciate ligament: This is the strongest of the three ligaments, and it take a substantial impact to damage it. Damage to the posterior cruciate ligament can make the knee unstable. Treatment depends on the severity of the injury and can range from conservative therapy to surgery.
- Cartilage tear: The cartilage surrounds the knee and aids in movement. If it is torn in a car accident, surgery may be needed when conservative measures do not work.
Symptoms of Knee Injury
Depending on the location of the injury, the following symptoms are possible:
- Pain and Swollen knee after car accident
- Discoloration can vary from yellow to red to green
- Limited range of motion
- Temperature variation. Coldness can occur when the blood supply is disrupted while warmth can be due to inflammation.
When Knee Injuries Occur
Accidents that commonly result in knee injuries are broken down into the following:
- Rollover: Only 2 percent of those injured harm their knees.
- Sideswipe: Three percent of injuries in this type of car accident result in knee injuries.
- Head-on collisions: Six percent of those injured have knee injuries.
- Lane departures: About 69 percent have injuries to the knee occur.
- Rear-end collisions: Twenty percent suffer knee injuries.
Treatment for Knee Injuries
If the trauma is mild, an injured person may be told to rest the knee, use ice and elevate the leg. Compression can help too. Rehabilitation is often used to increase knee stability. If the injury is more severe, surgery will probably be used. This can involve lengthy hospital stays and high costs.
Compensation in a Knee Injury Car Accident Settlement
The extent of damages associated with a knee injury depends on the type of trauma. To determine the impact the injury has on an individual, an attorney will rely on information supplied by medical experts and the injured party’s treating physicians. If surgery is required, it stands to reason that the medical expenses and time lost at work will be greater. The degree of pain and suffering also depends on the extent of the injury.
A knee injury impacts people differently. For instance, if the injured party led an active lifestyle and after the injury could not engage in the same activities, this can increase the pain and suffering they experience. Their quality of life will be deeply affected, and the compensation may be adjusted to reflect this.
Alternately, the defense can try to persuade the court that the extent of the victim’s pain is due to a previous injury. The plaintiff’s attorney will check with their physician to see if they previously suffered the same degree of pain they had after the accident. If the pain level increased, it might be argued that the accident not only caused new pain but exacerbated the prior injury.
If you have suffered a knee injury from a car accident, we can help. The Law Offices of David Azizi can provide you a free review of your important knee injury claim to help you achieve justice and fair compensation. For a trusted car accident lawyer, contact us online or call (800) 991-5292.