The appropriate method of coping with knee injuries after an auto accident depends upon the nature and severity of your injuries. Every scenario is different, and you should do what makes sense in your situation.
Your doctor will give you instructions on how to alleviate the pain and swelling and optimize your chances of a positive outcome when you sustain a knee injury from an auto accident.
The medical advice will probably include the R.I.C.E. rule, which is:
- Rest. Do not use your injured leg to bear your weight. Stay off your feet.
- Ice. Use ice packs on the knee for 20 minutes every two hours, unless your doctor gives you different instructions.
- Compression. Support your knee with a compression wrap or elastic bandage.
- Elevation. Prop up your knee with pillows when lying down to keep it at a higher elevation.
For a mild knee injury, your doctor might prescribe physical therapy and knee rehab after a round of R.I.C.E self-care at home. Depending on your injury, you might have to use crutches and wear a knee brace for a few weeks.
How You Can Damage Your Knee in a Car Accident
Because we are in a sitting position with our knees bent when riding in a car, our knees are vulnerable to injury during an auto accident. Knee damage can happen when a person’s knee hits:
- The dashboard or steering wheel
- The back of the front seat
- Any hard object inside the car
- Another passenger inside the car
- Another motor vehicle or object that collides with the injured person’s car
- A sharp or jagged object or piece of wreckage
Types of Knee Injuries From Car Crashes
Two of the most common knee injuries from trauma are torn or severed patellar tendons and tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
You have tendons that hold your kneecap in place and help it do its job when you walk, sit, stand, bend, and straighten your leg. The patellar tendon connects the lower portion of your kneecap to your tibia, the bone between your knee and ankle.
You can have partial tears of the tendon, in which the tendon looks like a frayed rope, or a complete tear, in which the tendon separates or severs from the kneecap. A piece of bone can break off when the tendon severs, causing additional damage.
Symptoms of Tendon Injury
You might experience any of these signs with a torn or severed patellar tendon:
- A feeling of tearing, popping, pain, or tenderness
- Swelling or bruising
- Being unable to straighten your leg
- The kneecap moves upward out of place
- You have an indentation at the bottom of the affected knee
- Cramping leg muscles
- Your knee gives way or buckles when you try to walk
Treatments to Correct Tendon Damage
If you have a complete tear, you will likely have to undergo surgery to repair the damage to your knee. Expect a round of physical therapy after the surgery. A cast or knee immobilizer is usually part of the process, often used along with crutches.
Ligament Damage (ACL)
We typically hear of ACL injuries happening to athletes, but motor vehicle crashes can also cause these injuries. You have two ligaments in your knee, one of which is the ACL. The ligaments cross in the middle of your knee. The ACL connects your femur (thighbone) to your tibia (shinbone). The ACL helps to stabilize your knee joint.
Candidates for Surgery for ACL Damage
People who are young and active can often achieve a favorable outcome from ACL surgery. Athletes usually undergo surgical repair of ACL damage so that they can continue playing their sport. You might need ACL surgery if your knee buckles with ordinary use.
In cases of severe damage, surgery might be necessary. In these situations, the surgeon will often harvest a tendon from elsewhere in your knee or from an organ donor to replace a ligament that is too damaged to heal correctly.
Factors That Affect the Settlement Value of Knee Injuries From an Auto Accident
Every injury is unique. The amount of compensation you can receive for your knee injury from a car crash will depend on the facts of your case. You can pursue damages for new injuries and you can also get compensation for aggravation of a preexisting injury.
These are some of the factors that can impact the money damages you can receive:
- The severity of your knee injury
- Treatments you had to undergo to treat the damage
- How successful the treatments were in repairing the damage to your knee
- Complications from your knee injury treatment
- Other injuries you sustained in the accident
- Lasting impairment from the knee injury after you completed treatment and rehabilitation
- The cost of your medical treatment
- How much time you missed from work without pay
- Diminished earning capacity because of residual problems from your injuries
- Intangible losses, like pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disfigurement, and loss of consortium
At S. Burke Law, our team takes pride in providing personal service and treating you like family. Call us today at 404-842-7838, to line up a free case evaluation.