When knee pain strikes following a car accident, your life can change in an instant. You may experience excruciating pain when sitting down, going up and down the stairs, or even simply walking. Knee pain after a crash may be an indication of a knee injury from car accident and should not be ignored. People often do not realize it, but knees are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body when a motor vehicle accident happens. Because the knee joint connects multiple bones in the leg, the knees are critical for overall mobility and function. Injuries to the knee can limit a person’s ability to move freely and painlessly for months. If the injury is not properly diagnosed and treated immediately, it can even permanently restrict a person’s mobility. If you were involved in a car accident and suffered a knee injury due to someone else’s negligence, consider contacting Stufano Law. Our results-driven attorneys help injured victims obtain the financial compensation they deserve. Call (914) 752-7746 to request a consultation today.
Common Types of Knee Injuries From Car Accidents
A study published in the National Library of Medicine examined the database of motor vehicle accidents maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and found that knee injuries account for about 10% of all injuries in traffic accidents. However, knee injuries are not all the same. There are different types of knee injuries that may result from being involved in a car accident, including:
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury. The PCL injury – also known as the “dashboard injury” – is considered the most common type of knee injury from car accident. The posterior cruciate ligament is a connective tissue located inside the knee joint. The PCL can become injured when the ligament is torn or stretched or when the force of impact in a motor vehicle accident shatters the bones of the kneecap and causes damage to the surrounding ligaments. People in car accidents often suffer a PCL injury when their knee is forced into the dashboard.
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. The ACL is another connective tissue that helps stabilize the knee joint. The anterior cruciate ligament can get overstretched or become torn either partially or completely when a traumatic event occurs. People are likely to suffer an ACL injury in a car accident when they use their legs to brace against an impact.
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury. The MCL is a third ligament inside the knee that keeps the shin bone in place and prevents the knee from buckling inward. An MCL injury is usually the result of pressure or stress applied to the outside part of the knee. People in car accidents are likely to sustain an MCL injury when their leg is bent awkwardly or violently pushed to one side.
- Patella fracture. Patella is another word for the knee cap. A patella is likely to break or become fractured due to a direct blow to the knee. When an accident occurs, vehicle occupants are likely to suffer a patella fracture when their knee slams against an object inside the vehicle, like the dashboard or the back of the seat in front of them.
- Torn meniscus. A meniscus is a C-shaped piece of soft and fibrous cartilage that helps cushion the knee joint and absorb shock in the knee. A torn meniscus is likely to occur when a person twists or turns their upper leg awkwardly while their foot is planted and the knee is bent.
- Knee dislocation. A dislocation occurs when any of the three bones in the knee (patella, tibia, and femur) becomes misaligned. This is likely to occur due to a sudden, extremely violent force in a motor vehicle accident.
The kneecap and all the ligaments surrounding the knee are prone to injury in car accidents because the knees of the vehicle occupants are usually bent when seated in the vehicle. Any knee injury resulting from a car accident can cause excruciating pain and prevent the victim from being able to go to work, as well as precipitating an array of medical expenses. The personal injury attorneys in Yonkers, New York at Stufano Law regularly help car accident victims navigate the complex insurance claims process and pursue the compensation for their injuries, including damages to cover the costs of medical treatments and time missed from work.
Symptoms of a Knee Injury from Car Accident To Watch Out For
Knee injury symptoms vary greatly depending on the type of injury and the severity of the accident. Typically, the more serious the injury, the sooner the victim will experience pain or notice other symptoms. In many cases, symptoms may appear immediately at the scene. However, in other cases, it could take days or even weeks before symptoms show up. Below are some of the most common symptoms of a knee injury to watch out for after a car accident:
- Pain. Some degree of pain is almost always present when a victim injures their knee in an accident. Knee pain can vary from a constant ache and burning discomfort to acute shooting pain.
- Swelling. When the knee joint suffers a sprain, tear, or fracture, it will most likely cause swelling. The primary cause of swelling in the knee is typically inflammation, as the body attempts to repair trauma.
- Heat. People who suffer a knee injury often complain about feeling heat or warmth in the knee, which may either be a sign of increased blood flow to the damaged region or an infection. The latter may be more likely in cases where the skin around the knee was broken during the crash.
- Discoloration. The area around the knee and the knee itself may change its color due to trauma. Discoloration is likely to happen when the knee has been bruised.
- Weakness. A person with a knee injury may feel weaker, especially if walking or performing other movements causes pain or discomfort.
- Popping or cracking sound. Some types of knee injuries, including the meniscus tear, can generate a popping or cracking sound when a victim is walking, sitting down, or standing up.
- Limited range of motion. The inability to bend or strengthen the leg could indicate a serious knee injury, especially if the reduced range of motion persists for days.
Since not all symptoms may be present immediately after the accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to get a proper diagnosis and start the necessary treatment.
How Are Knee Injuries Diagnosed?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, knee injuries can be diagnosed using a variety of tests, including:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This test uses large magnets to create clear and detailed images of structures inside the body.
- X-ray. An X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation that uses beams to pass through the body and produce images of the structures inside the body, particularly the bones.
- Computer tomography (CT). CT scans are diagnostic imaging procedures that create detailed pictures of bones, organs, and other tissues inside the body.
- Arthroscopy. This diagnostic procedure, which is used primarily for joint-related problems, involves making a small incision in the joint and inserting a small optic tube into it to detect structural problems.
- Radionuclide bone scan. This type of scan involves injecting a small amount of radioactive material into the patient’s bloodstream to reveal problems in the bones.
The effects of a knee injury from car accident can vary greatly from one individual and injury to another. The consequences often depend on the severity of the accident, the victim’s age and physical condition, and interaction with any pre-existing conditions. While some knee injuries may heal over time with timely and appropriate medical treatment and rehabilitation, others can lead to chronic pain and permanent disability.
You May Be Entitled to Compensation
A compassionate personal injury attorney will understand the pain and frustration that comes with a knee injury from car accident. With years of legal experience, Stufano Law is committed to fighting tirelessly to help victims of car accidents secure the compensation they deserve to ease the financial burden of their injuries. Reach out to schedule your free initial case review by calling (914) 752-7746 today.