It is easy to suffer knee injuries in a collision, and in fact, it is a very common car crash injury. The impact of hitting another vehicle can cause victims to strike their knees against something hard in the vehicle, such as the dashboard, even when they are wearing a seatbelt.
Learn more about the types of knee injuries you could suffer in a car crash, including what treatment is available and the damages you may be able to recover.
Do you need an injury lawyer to help you recover your losses after a car crash? Call Schmidt Kramer to speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer in Pennsylvania today. We are in the business of helping people, and we are ready to help you.
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Can I Sue for a Knee Injury After a Car Crash?
You may be eligible to bring a lawsuit against the other party for your damages. However, there are a few steps you would need to take before that is an option.
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance. This means you would first file a claim against the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) portion of your policy. That may not go too far if you only purchased the minimum coverage of $5,000. Once that coverage is depleted, what you can recover next depends on the type of no-fault insurance policy you have.
Pennsylvania is one of only three states that utilize the choice no-fault system. If you purchased the full tort, you will have the option of seeking pain and suffering damages and other losses. However, if you have a limited tort policy, your legal options will be more limited.
Your best bet is to contact a knowledgeable attorney who handles these types of claims every day. In Harrisburg, we recommend that you contact Schmidt Kramer to get answers to your questions and discuss your legal options.
What Types of Knee Injuries Often Happen in Pennsylvania Collisions?
There are several types of knee injuries you could suffer in a car accident, many of which may require surgery. Some of the most common knee injuries from MVAs include:
Dislocated or Fractured Patella
Your kneecap, called the patella, could get dislocated or fractured if it hits something hard at the wrong angle. During a car crash, victims often hit their knees against the dashboard or another hard object in the vehicle.
If the patella is dislocated, it may need surgical repair. However, sometimes this injury can be splinted and braced while it heals. If broken, the kneecap will either need to be reset and put in a cast or repaired surgically. The healing time can vary, based on your genetics and other factors. With either injury, you would likely also need physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles.
Your knees have cartilage to help cushion and provide a shock absorber, which helps to protect your joints. If the impact of your collision causes your knee to suddenly shift, it could tear the meniscus in one or both knees.
Victims with a torn meniscus often know something is wrong because the knee will often swell up. You might also hear or feel a clicking sound when you try to bend or extend your leg. Meniscus tears must be repaired surgically to achieve optimum recovery.
Torn ligaments are very common after a collision and could occur in three different areas of your knee:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – Located in the center of your knee, the ACL connects the thighbone, or femur to your shinbone, or tibia. This ligament is important for stabilization, as it also helps to prevent your shin bone from sliding out or pushing out in front of your thigh bone.
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL) – If you have a torn MCL, you will feel pain on the inside of your knee. You could also hear a popping noise, and experience swelling, stiffness, and feel like your knee may not hold your weight.
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) – A torn PCL, often called a dashboard knee injury, occurs in about 20 percent of all knee ligament injuries. A PCL happens far less than an MCL, however. It is stronger than the MCL and goes across the back of the knee. Like the MCL, the PCL connects the femur to the tibia. The PCL’s role in supporting your knee is to make sure the tibia does not extend too far behind.
Rupturing the tendons in your knee is very painful. This injury can happen if your patella gets dislocated, which could cause the kneecap to shift toward the quadriceps or patellar tendon. Unfortunately, most tendon ruptures require surgery to repair the damage.
Bursitis of the Knee:
Victims may notice discoloration, swelling and inflammation. You might also hear clicking noises when you bend or extend your knee. Other symptoms may include knee instability or burning pain. These symptoms could indicate sustained damage to the nerves or arteries that support blood circulation to your knee. Immediate medical attention is required if this occurs.
Symptoms of a Severe Knee Injury
While knee injuries after a car accident are extremely common, victims may not immediately realize anything is wrong. We strongly recommend seeking immediate medical care after any car accident. This one step can go a long way to protect your health, reduce your recovery time if you are injured and protect your legal interests if you have a claim.
Some early signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate you have a knee injury include:
- Reduced range-of-motion
- Feeling like your knee may give out
- Numbness of the lower leg or foot
- Discoloration in the knee area
- Unable to put weight on that leg
- Burning pain
You may not have all of these symptoms at once, but having one or more could mean that you suffered a severe knee injury. If you experience these symptoms after a car crash, getting checked out right away is a good idea.
Why Knees Are More Vulnerable to Injuries
Knees are very complex joints that connect your thigh bone to your shin bone. The hinge-like capability of knees is amazing because it enables us to move, bend and twist in ways that would otherwise be difficult to impossible.
The complexity of the knee joint is also what makes it more prone to injury, however. Since your knees fully carry your upper body weight, they can also suffer an injury over time due to wear and tear.
How Are Knee Injuries From a Collision Treated?
The treatment for a knee injury, regardless of how it happened, depends on the type of damage you sustained. If you suffered a severe knee injury, you likely would need surgery and physical therapy to achieve as optimum a recovery as possible.
Victims with a more minor knee injury may be lucky enough to avoid surgery. In those situations, your doctor may typically recommend:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Compression wrap or knee brace
Rest is critical to helping even a minor knee injury to heal. Often, this means full bedrest where any type of knee movement is restricted. Trying to move around too soon could cause you to aggravate your knee before it has healed. It could also result in a much more severe injury.
Elevating your knee above your heart can benefit your knee injury by preventing or reducing swelling. It can also help to improve circulation and lessen fluid build-up. Over-the-counter drugs, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can help with inflammation and pain management. Applying ice packs to the area for 30 minutes at a time may further reduce both swelling and pain.
Depending on the severity of your knee injury, your doctor may also determine you need a compression wrap or knee brace to further stabilize the area while it heals.
Need Legal Help After a Knee Injury From a Collision? We Are Here to Help
At Schmidt Kramer, our Harrisburg car crash law group is highly trained and deeply committed to the success of your case, and we always fight for the maximum possible recovery. To date, we have recovered more than $100 million in compensation for our clients.
There are strict time restrictions in Pennsylvania, so we strongly recommend that you do not delay calling an attorney.
Call to schedule your FREE case review anytime, 24/7. (717) 727-1403