Car Crash Knee Injuries: Understanding the Causes and Your Legal Options

man with painful knee injuryCar crashes can cause significant damage to the legs, especially the knees. While many of these injuries are the result of blunt force trauma, sometimes your leg can get twisted, causing ligaments to overstretch or tear.

While these injuries are unlikely to be life-threatening, victims often face a long recovery. They may also have long-term mobility issues. If you do not get prompt treatment, there is a risk the injury will never heal properly. This could permanently affect how well you can move.

Greg Monforton and Partners’ experienced Windsor car crash lawyers discuss the common types of car crash knee injuries, why they occur, symptoms and filing a legal claim for damages. If you suffered a knee injury in a crash that was not your fault, we may be able to help you seek compensation for your damages.

No upfront costs. Free consultation. Millions recovered. Call us at: (866) 320-4770.

What Kinds of Knee Injuries Can Happen During a Collision?

The knees are joints consisting of a patella, or kneecap, and ligaments and tendons to provide stability and allow movement. Any of these components could suffer damage in a car crash.

Here are some of the most common car crash knee injuries:

Fractured Patella

This is often caused by blunt force trauma. It is a painful injury that can prevent you from straightening your leg or walking. Doctors usually need to perform surgery so the injury can heal, especially for patients who have a displaced fracture.

Dislocated Knee Joint

Sometimes car crashes move the bones out of place, also known as dislocation. There are partial dislocations and complete dislocations, with complete dislocations being the more serious of the two injuries.

Dislocations can also damage surrounding ligaments, nerves and blood vessels, increasing the risk of long-term disability. That is why crash victims need immediate treatment for this type of injury.

Torn Meniscus

You can think of the meniscus as a cushion between your thigh bone and shin bone. If you are involved in a car crash, the meniscus could tear and cause significant pain, swelling and stiffness. A meniscus tear can also make it harder to straighten your leg, making it feel like your knee is locked.

Ligament Damage

Your knee has four ligaments that provide stability:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

Any of these ligaments could fully or partially tear during a crash, often because of a sudden stop, blunt force trauma or twisting. These ligament injuries are painful and can make your knee incredibly unstable, making it harder to bear weight.

Below, we explain the purpose of each of these four ligaments and how they can get injured in a collision:

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears

The ACL connects the thigh bone to the shin bone, stabilizing the knee and preventing the shin bone from sliding out in front of the thigh bone. Injuries often happen when there is a direct impact to the front or back of the knee, such as getting hit by the dashboard.

When the injury happens, you may hear a loud pop, followed by pain, swelling and instability in the joint.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Tears

The MCL is on the inside of your knee and it is designed to prevent the knee from bending inward. MCL injuries are usually caused by a sharp blow to the outer side of the knee, which forces the knee inward. The telltale signs of an MCL injury include pain and tenderness along the inner side of the knee. Victims also have trouble bending the knee.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Tears

The PCL is in the back of your knee and it prevents the shin bone from moving too far backward. It can suffer damage if your knee hits the dashboard, as the blow can push the shin under the thigh bone.

This injury does not hurt as much as other types of ligament injuries. The pain is relatively mild and your knee might feel slightly unstable.

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Tears

The LCL is on the outer side of the knee, which helps to prevent excessive sideways movement. These are not as common as the other types of knee ligament injuries. They are usually caused by a blow to the inner part of the knee, which can push the knee outward.

The main symptoms of an LCL injury are pain and tenderness on the outer side of the knee. You might also feel some amount of instability when you walk or change directions.

How Can a Car Crash Injure One of Your Knees?

There are three main ways your knee could get injured in a Windsor car crash:

  • Direct impact: For example, you knee could hit the dashboard, door, steering wheel or another hard surface in your car. Blunt force trauma can fracture the patella, tear ligaments or damage the meniscus. The severity of these kinds of injuries often depends on the speed of the collision and the angle of impact.
  • Twisting motion: This means sudden, unnatural twisting of the knee joint. This kind of movement can strain or tear your knee ligaments. Twisting motion could happen if your foot gets stuck under the pedal or dashboard.
  • Bracing impact: In the seconds before impact, you may tense up and make your legs stiff. If your legs are stiff up against the dashboard, the impact of the crash can damage your knees, because there is sudden backward or forward pressure on the joint.

Filing an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit for a Knee Injury

If you were injured in a Windsor car crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you can seek compensation for the cost of your medical care. Your lawyer may also be able to obtain compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

However, this is something you need to discuss with an experienced lawyer who has the resources and legal knowledge to investigate and build a case. The burden of proof is on the victim. This means so you will need to prove the other driver’s negligence caused the crash.

There is limited time to file a claim, and waiting can make the insurance company suspicious about the merits of your claim. Waiting also makes it harder for a lawyer to gather evidence.

When you contact Greg Monforton and Partners, we can explain if you may have a case and how we can help. Once you hire our firm, we get to work seeking the justice and compensation you deserve.

We also explain how our clients can help us build a case, such as by documenting all their medical costs and treatments.

What Are the Symptoms of Car Crash Knee Injuries?

If you are involved in any type of car crash and you notice these symptoms in one or both of your knees, you may have a serious knee injury. These symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Severe pain
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Visible deformities or bruising
  • Popping or crunching noises
  • Limited range of motion
  • Discoloration
  • Redness
  • Knee feeling warm to the touch
  • Fever
  • Feeling like your knee will give out at any moment
  • And more

Prompt medical treatment is essential for your recovery. Waiting could put you at risk for a longer recovery and permanent damage. This damage can affect your mobility and your ability to continue working in the same job as before your injury.

How Do Doctors Treat a Knee Injury?

Surgery is often necessary with severe injuries (torn ligaments, meniscus tears, fractures and dislocations), as bones and ligaments may not heal on their own. You may also have damage to nerves and blood vessels that could increase your risk of complications. Doctors likely need to do imaging tests to determine the extent of the damage and how best to provide treatment.

Some victims may not need surgery, but they may still face a long recovery. Their injuries can be treated with ice, elevation, compression and limited physical activity.

No matter the severity, victims are likely going to need physical therapy to help improve mobility, strength and flexibility. The more severe the injury, the more physical therapy victims are likely to need.

Doctors may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, as inflammation can slow the healing process and cause more pain.

Call Greg Monforton and Partners To Discuss Your Auto Accident Case

Greg Monforton and Partners is committed to helping crash victims secure the compensation they need. We have more than 40 years of experience advocating for victims’ rights in Windsor and throughout the province.

If you or a loved one has suffered a knee injury or any other type of injury in a crash, contact us today to see how we may be able to help you. We can explore your legal options at no upfront cost. There are also no fees while we work on your case.

Licenced. Local. Lawyers. Call for legal assistance: (866) 320-4770.