Seeking Compensation For a Knee Injury From a Car Crash

doctor reviewing x-ray and model of kneeOne of the reasons you can suffer an injury in a car crash is because of blunt force trauma. For example, you could hit one of your knees, causing a serious, painful injury that could seriously limit your mobility. In some cases, the injury causes long-term pain and permanent impairment of your ability to walk.

Below, we discuss knee injuries from car accidents in Louisiana. We explain how a crash could result in a knee injury, the common types of car crash knee injuries, and what victims should do after the collision.

Galloway Jefcoat has been securing car accident compensation for victims for decades. Call to find out if a Lafayette-based vehicle accident attorney can assist you.

Free legal consultation. No upfront fees. Call (337) 984-8020.

How Can a Car Crash Cause Damage to Your Knees

Your knee does not necessarily need to get hit to suffer an injury in a car crash. When you tighten your legs to brace for impact or slam down on the brake, the bones and soft tissues that make up the knee could get twisted. This could result in sprains, strains or tears of ligaments and other structures in the knee.

However, one of the most common causes of a car accident knee injury is hitting the dashboard. When this happens, it is called dashboard knee. The force of impact causes your body to get thrown forward and your knee could slam into the dashboard and/or steering wheel.

What happens if you hit your knee too hard on the dashboard? Bones could shatter and ligaments and other soft tissues can get violently torn apart.

Knee injuries can happen in various types of Lafayette auto accidents:

  • Rear-end crashes – The force of the impact could cause your knees to hit the dashboard. Your kneecap could fracture or you could suffer a severe soft-tissue injury.
  • T-bone crashes – The side impact could cause your body to twist, and the force of the impact could transfer down into your knees. Your knee could hit the dashboard or gear shift.
  • Collisions with stationary objects – This is similar to a T-bone crash except you hit a stationary object. If the crash happens at a fast enough speed, the interior of the driver’s side door could bend inward and hit your left knee.
  • Head-on crashes – Head-on collisions often happen at high speed, which could cause the dashboard or engine to get pushed into the passenger cabin. A severe crash like that could also result in long-term knee injuries.

7 Types of Knee Injuries That Could Be Caused by Auto Accidents

These are some of the debilitating knee injuries that could occur in a Louisiana car crash:

1. Torn Meniscus

You could suffer an injury to your medial or lateral meniscus, which are two types of cartilage that provide cushioning for your knee. During the crash, the cartilage could twist or rotate. This could cause tearing that could limit the range of motion in your knee.

2. Dislocated Knee

Dislocation means bones fall out of proper alignment. Your knee is composed of three bones, the patella, femur and tibia. Dislocation is usually accompanied by a popping sound and damage to the ligaments in the knee. A dislocated knee injury needs to be treated right away to prevent permanent damage. Doctors need to pop the bones back into place.

3. Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Sprain or Tear

The medial collateral ligaments in your knees connect your lower leg bones and thigh bones. These ligaments prevent your knees from buckling inward. If your knee gets twisted too hard, the ligament can get sprained, strained or torn.

4. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury

This ligament is not as vulnerable to damage as the anterior cruciate ligament. However, blunt force trauma can cause the PCL to tear. This is something that is more likely to happen if your knee hits the dashboard and pushes down into your shinbone.

5. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury

Your ACL and MCL form an X inside your knee. The ACL controls rotation and forward movement. If your knee gets pushed to the side too quickly or twists, the ACL could tear. Overextension of the knee one way or the other could also cause an ACL injury. ACL injuries often accompany other types of knee injuries.

6. Fractured Patella

The patella is the kneecap. If the patella gets struck hard or crushed under the dashboard, it could fracture. Sometimes the break is so severe that pieces of the bone fall out of place. Surgery will be needed to put the bones back into the proper position.

7. Fractured Tibial Plateau

The tibial plateau is at the top of your shinbone and supports your weight as you walk. This type of injury often happens when the leg gets pinned under the dashboard. Typically, the injury damages muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues, not just the shin bone. The fracture can be minor or severe. If it is severe, surgery is probably going to be needed to repair the damage.

What Are the Symptoms of a Knee Injury?

If you are in a car crash and you notice any of the symptoms listed below, you should seek medical care right away. You may have a knee injury and without immediate treatment, there may be a higher risk of serious or permanent damage. For example, you may develop chronic pain or have long-term mobility issues.

  • Severe pain
  • Bruising or discolored (red, black or purple) skin around your knee
  • Swelling
  • Knee feeling warm to the touch
  • Clicking or popping noises when you move your knee joint
  • Instability when you try to stand up
  • Less range of motion in your knee, such as if you cannot flex or extend your knee
  • Deformed kneecap
  • Being unable to put any weight on the knee
  • Numbness in your foot or lower leg

Sometimes knee injury symptoms present themselves right away. Other times it may take a day or two for symptoms to show up. For example, swelling and bruising may present themselves a couple of days after the car crash.

Knee instability, however, is a symptom that will be noticeable right away. If you feel like you cannot walk, you need to seek treatment immediately.

How Are Knee Injuries Treated?

Minor knee injuries are often treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation. Doctors may recommend over-the-counter medications to help control inflammation and pain. For example, if you have sprained a ligament in your knee you may need to take it easy for a month or two while it heals.

As knee injuries from car accidents increase in severity, victims may need physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles and ligaments that were damaged. You may need to wear a brace for a time to give your knee the stability it needs while walking.

However, more severe injuries are going to need surgery. For example, a torn ACL is going to need to be reconstructed. If you suffered a fractured patella and bone fragments are out of place they will need to be reattached or removed. If blood vessels get damaged and blood flow to your leg is restricted, surgery is necessary to repair the damage. Lack of blood flow could cause cells to die and potentially be life-threatening.

What Should You Do After Suffering a Knee Injury in a Collision?

Get to the hospital as soon as possible. You need your knee to heal properly to have the best chance of avoiding long-term problems. Make sure to follow the doctor’s recommendations, especially when it comes to staying off your knee. If you do not do what the doctor tells you, you could reinjure your knee and prolong your recovery.

You should also call a lawyer to discuss your legal options. You may be able to seek compensation for damages you suffered, including the cost of treating your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the collision was caused by the other driver’s negligence, you may have a claim against that driver’s liability insurance.

Contact Us to Discuss a Claim for a Lafayette Car Accident

If you are unsure if you have a case or if you need help from a lawyer, call Galloway Jefcoat to discuss what you have been through. We have worked with victims of a wide variety of auto accidents and have helped them obtain monetary compensation for medical treatment and other damages.

There are no upfront fees for our services. Call today: (337) 984-8020.