In addition to the other types of lower body injuries suffered in car accidents, knee injuries can be serious, painful and life-changing. Victims left with these injuries are often left with questions about the insurance process and how much they will receive in a potential settlement.
The purpose of this guide is to give you an idea of the legal issues involved in the insurance settlement process and how you can make a financial recovery and get back to normal.
Examples of Knee Injury Car Accident Settlements
The following are actual real life knee injury settlements and jury verdicts recovered by the attorneys at Davis Law Group:
- $655,000. Settlement for a man who suffered a torn ACL, MCL and PCL in a severe motorcycle collision involving a drunk driver on the highway.
- $128,000. Jury verdict for woman who tore her meniscus in a slip and fall accident at a restaurant, an injury that would require three surgeries over the course of two years.
- $100,000 (policy limit). Settlement for our client, a young man who suffered a broken kneecap (dashboard knee) in a rear end collision at an intersection.
- $78,000. Settlement for a man who suffered a fractured and dislocated knee in a bicycle accident.
- $75,000. Arbitration verdict for our client, an elderly woman who was T-boned and suffered a complete tear of the MCL.
These are just some of the settlements secured by Davis Law Group for knee injury victims. No two cases are the same, and it’s best to consult with an injury lawyer to assess the true value of your claim.
How Much Compensation Will I Get for a Knee Injury?
After an accident, a knee injury victim can file a claim for damages against the at-fault party’s insurance company. The unfortunate part in these cases is that it can be difficult to prove that the knee injury was directly caused by the accident. Additionally, insurance adjusters are notorious for their tricks and tactics to undermine and undervalue a claim.
Thus, many victims with serious knee injuries end up getting much less in settlement money than they deserve.
When making a claim for damages, it is often best for the injured victim to enlist an experience and resourceful attorney who can help obtain the maximum compensation for the knee injury. A good personal injury lawyer should be able to properly assess the value of the case, negotiate with insurance companies, and guide the victim on the best legal options.
For a free case evaluation with an attorney at Davis Law Group, call (206) 727-4000.
How Much is a Knee Injury Worth?
While every knee injury claim is different, the insurance company will look at several factors to determine the value of your injuries. Your attorney will also look at these factors when working on your case:
- Medical expenses. This refers to your past, present and future medical bills associated with the accident. For example, if your accident and injuries required you to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance, that bill can be included in your settlement. Additionally, all medications, doctor’s visits, rehab, surgeries, braces, etc., will be included as well.
- Lost wages. Knee injuries are serious and usually keep victims out of work for a period of time. Whatever income you lost because of the accident can be recovered.
- Property damage. If your car, bike or motorcycle was damaged in an accident, the insurance company may pay for the damages and repair.
- Loss of essential services. Some people with bad knee injuries can no longer perform essential household duties, such as yard work, cleaning, etc. If that’s the case, the settlement can include money for outside help to do those jobs.
- Pain and suffering. Many knee injuries are painful and the recovery process is stressful. Depending on the severity of your injury, the insurance company may include money for the grief you went through.
- Loss of consortium. Your spouse or partner may have a claim for the loss of love and support due to the accident.
These are just several of the main types of damages that are recoverable in a knee injury case. Consult with an attorney to learn the full scope of your potential recovery.
Long-Term Knee Injury Complications
Along with back injuries, knee injuries frequently plague a victim for months and years. If the right treatment is not received, or a surgery is delayed, the injury can fester and become extremely debilitating. Then once the knee injury is finally addressed, far more serious treatment is required.
In the years after a knee injury from a car accident, the victim might develop serious post-traumatic arthritis in the knee. The pain can be severe and life-altering, making it difficult to enjoy life and perform routine tasks. In these situations, many eventually take the most drastic step in knee injury recovery process.
A total knee replacement can sometimes be the best solution for chronic knee pain. In this procedure, surgeons take the original damaged knee joint and replace it with an artificial implant. The operation can be expensive, but those that receive a brand new knee are often much better off.
Average Settlement for a Slip and Fall Knee Injury
Many attorneys avoid slip and fall cases because insurance companies defend them, meaning they typically do not settle them before a lawsuit is filed. And while some lawyers would have you believe that they have a magical touch to turn a bad case into a good case, that’s an oversimplification.
The knee injuries that occur in a slip and fall case are similar to the ones that happen in a car accident. Victims may land on their knee and suffer a fracture, where the sheer force of the fall breaks the kneecap. They may sprain their knee when it gets stretched in an awkward direction. A tear may occur when the knee is suddenly turned or twisted during the fall. Finally, one or more ligaments may be damaged when the knee is bent or jerked in an unusual direction.
There is no truly average settlement for these injuries because all insurance companies handle these cases differently. There is also no national registry for all settlements and jury verdicts, and oftentimes victims sign non-disclosure agreements to prevent the negative publicity of a settlement getting to the public.
Average Settlement for a Torn Meniscus
While asking for the value of a case based on an injury a diagnosis is not the best way to determine what your case is worth. That’s because there are so many variables that go into determining the value of a personal injury case.
But for a non complicated torn meniscus case where the doctor does arthroscopic surgery and the victim does fairly well after surgery, the settlement range is usually somewhere between $45,000 to $65,000. It’s important to remember that this range applies to cases where there is little to no dispute over the facts of the accident or whether the accident caused the actual injury.
Understanding the average settlement for an injury should not serve as a substitute for consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal rights. A torn meniscus can have serious long-term effects if left untreated, and an attorney can guide you to get proper care and protect your right to a financial recovery.
Knee Injury Settlement Calculator
While many websites will tell you that there is a “knee injury settlement calculator,” any personal injury lawyer will tell you that there’s too many variables involved to accurately predict a settlement. While most formulas use medical expenses, lost wages and some form of pain and suffering multiplier, the result is a simplified and oftentimes lowball settlement offer from the insurance company.
For an accurate and helpful look at what to expect out of a knee injury settlement, contact a personal injury lawyer to learn about your legal rights and the steps to recovery.
Common Types of Knee Injuries from Car Accidents
- Knee sprain/strain. A sprain or strain of the knee can occur if you stretch or tear the ligaments, tendons, muscles or joints surrounding the knee. This is one of the most common types of lower body injuries in a car accident.
- Knee dislocation. While extremely rare, a dislocation of the knee can cause serious problems, including blood loss, infection or amputation.
- Knee fracture. A serious car accident can cause a knee fracture. You might see the bone popping through the skin. Knee fractures often lead to chronic pain and long-term issues such as arthritis.
- Torn meniscus. The medial and lateral menisci are two cartilages on top of the tibia bone at the knee and helps protect the joint from stresses placed on it. Meniscus can be torn due to trauma caused by the forceful twisting or hyper-flexing of the knee.
- Dashboard knee. When a person experiences a direct blow to the kneecap or patella during a motor vehicle accident it is referred to as dashboard knee, because it’s commonly caused by the knee crashing into the dashboard. The patella (kneecap) is a free-floating bone that protects the knee joint. Pressure directly to the kneecap can break the patella.
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. One of the most common ligament injured in car accidents, the ACL runs across the knee and provides stabilization and strength to the knee.
- Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) injury. The PCL is much stronger than the ACL and acts as a brake against certain types of motions. And while the PCL is tough to injure, crashes involving automobiles, bikes or motorcycles can do serious damage to the ligament.
- Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury. This ligament runs down the inner part of the knee and prevents the leg from over-extending inward. Injuries to the MCL occur when a strong force hits the outside of the knee.
- Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) injury. An LCL injury is typically the result of a direct force on the inside of the knee, causing the ligament (located on the outside of the knee) to stretch or tear. This type of ligament injury is commonly seen during knee dislocations, but are generally far less common than other ligament injuries.
- Internal derangement of the knee. A chronic condition that interferes with normal knee function. Typically caused by injured ligaments, loose pieces of bone or cartilage in the knee joint, or a torn meniscus.
Symptoms of a Knee Injury After a Car Accident
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and suspect there is an injury to your knee, you should take the proper precautions and make sure you see a doctor.
Closely monitor your knees for the following symptoms:
- Pain. Obviously any injury to the knee will result in some sort of pain at the location of the injury. The pain is likely worse whenever you touch, bend or twist the knee in any fashion.
- Abnormal sounds. If you heard any sounds from your knee at the time of your injury, that may be a sign that a knee injury occurred. That may be a popping sound, or a simple ripping or tearing noise.
- Discoloration. A more severe injury can cause the affected area to change in color. If the skin is red, or if it looks infected and turns yellow or green, seek medical attention as soon as possible. You can do this by comparing the injured knee to an uninjured knee.
- Temperature variation. The body attempts to heal itself, and that response might make the area feel warmer/hotter than usual. Oppositely, if the injury feels colder than usual, that might be a sign of a blood circulation problem.
- Lack of strength. A knee injury is likely going to weaken the joint and make it difficult to put weight on.
- Reduced range of motion. An accident that results in a knee injury means you may not be able to walk, bend or flex the knee like you could previously.
Treatment for a Knee Injury
The type and severity of your knee injury will determine what type of treatment you receive. Stress or overuse injuries will usually heal over time with rest and ice. More severe injuries may require a doctor’s attention, surgery and rehabilitation.
If you’ve suffered a fracture, tear or dislocation of your knee, you’ll likely need more medical attention. In the case of surgery to repair a torn ligament, the person will likely not be able to use the knee for months after the procedure. Then afterwards, extensive rehab and stretching is required to regain full range of motion and strength.
The timetable for recovery from a knee injury is highly variable. Depending on your age, health and activity level, you could be back to normal in a matter of weeks or months. Others may be sidelined for months or suffer the physical effects for years.
In recent years, knee injuries have been fixed with arthroscopic surgery. This procedure involves making a few small incisions and inserting small tools through them to repair damage to the meniscus or to remove loose bodies. Arthroscopic surgery is typically an outpatient procedure involving six to eight weeks of recovery time.
Is a Torn Meniscus a Serious Injury?
While a torn meniscus is not nearly as severe as a tear to a ligament — ACL, PCL, MCL or LCL — the injury can have long-term consequences if it goes untreated. If not treated, a torn meniscus can lead to part of the meniscus coming loose and slipping into the joint, requiring surgery to restore full knee function. Obviously any injury that could require surgery should be considered serious.
As with most injuries that go untreated, a torn meniscus will only get worse over time. The tear could become larger and lead to complications, such as painful arthritis that lasts into old age. It’s not uncommon for a torn meniscus to coincide with a torn ACL.
Workers’ Compensation Knee Injury Settlements
When it comes to injuries at work, knee injuries are the second most common type of injury, trailing only back injuries. There are a variety of ways that employees hurt their knees at work, including slip and falls, hits with hard surfaces, repetitive movements and unnatural turning or twisting.
Knee injuries are serious, and when they occur on the job they involve a long, sometimes painful recovery period. Workers that suffer a knee injury may miss work for weeks or months and may never regain the same strength and flexibility they had before the accident.
If you have suffered a knee injury while on the job, seek immediate medical attention. Notify your employer as soon as possible about the injury, and ask for their workers’ compensation insurance claims instructions so you can proceed with your care. If you’ve suffered a serious knee injury while on the job, it’s likely that you will need an attorney to handle your claim so that you receive the maximum compensation possible.
Davis Law Group attorneys do not handle workers’ compensation claims.
Washington State Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have suffered a knee injury or any other ailment in a Washington state car accident, you are entitled to compensation for your damages. Many people are surprised to learn just how much of a toll injuries have on their lives and their finances. Make sure you have someone on your side fighting for you.
To speak with an attorney at Seattle-based Davis Law Group about your knee injury, call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page. The consultation is free, and our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe us anything unless you win your case.