The bones in the human body are connected by ligaments. The anterior cruciate ligament ("ACL") is one of the main ligaments in your knee. Three separate bones combine to form the knee - the shinbone (tibia) and thighbone (femur) connect with the kneecap (patella) in front like a shield.
These bones are connected and stabilized by 4 separate ligaments. The collateral ligaments are on either side of the knee and they act like walls holding everything together on the sides. The cruciate ligaments (the ACL and the PCL) are inside in the middle of the knee and they control back and forward movement. The ACL and the PCL cross each other in an X formation with the ACL in front and the PCL in back.ACL Injuries
Like all ligaments, the ACL can be injured by stress or trauma such as:
- Sudden awkward stopping
- A rapid change of direction
- Landing from a jump or fall
- An impact from a collision like a car accident
Injuries to the ACL are generally classified as either partial tears or complete tears. With a sprain or partial tear, the ligament is damaged but still intact. A complete tear of the ACL occurs when the ligament is split in two and is not able to hold the knee together. A torn ACL is more common than a partially torn ACL.
A torn ACL is an injury that occurs suddenly and the symptoms are usually immediate. Sometimes when the ligament tears it will make a popping noise followed by immediate pain and loss of normal movement/control. The initial tear will be followed by swelling and pain.
In most cases, a doctor can diagnose a torn ACL based on just a physical examination of the knee. An MRI is sometimes used to confirm the diagnosis or evaluate the extent of the tear.
Can you tear your ACL in a car accident? You can. Our auto accident lawyers have seen scores of cases where the victims suffered a torn ACL in a car crash. We see them most often in head-on collision cases.
- Understanding the settlement value of knee injury cases
Once an ACL is torn it will never heal and repair itself without surgery. There are non-surgical treatment options that involve physical therapy and sometimes the use of a knee brace. With non-surgical treatment alone, the knee will never be restored to its pre-injury state. As a result, non-surgical treatment is usually only for older patients who are less concerned about restoring full mobility.
Surgical treatment is the only way to heal a torn ACL and fully restore the knee. A torn ACL usually cannot be stitched back together like skin or other tissue. The ACL must be surgically reconstructed with the placement of a tissue graft. The graft implant provides the ACL with a structure to regrow onto - sort of like ivy growing up a wall. Physical therapy and months of rehab and recovery are needed after surgical restoration.Torn ACL Lawsuits
A torn ACL is a common injury in many accidents. In a car accident, the sudden force of the collision can often put the knee under acute stress particularly when the driver or passengers use their legs to brace against the impact. Again, our lawyers see this often with head-on collisions or any impact that involves the jarring of the knee.
Another type of accident that can often result in a torn ACL is a typical slip and fall on a slippery floor. When you suddenly lose balance on a slippery surface your knees will often be twisted or bent with enough force to tear an ACL.
Bicycle collisions and a variety of workplace accidents can also cause ACL tears.
Tearing an ACL can be a serious and painful injury that will involve months of recovery. As mentioned above, reconstructive surgery is almost always required to repair a torn ACL followed by months of rehab and physical therapy. Aside from the pain and discomfort, recovering from an ACL tear can also have a financial impact if you are sidelined from work.
If you tear an ACL in an accident caused by someone else's negligence you have every right to demand compensation for your medical expenses, financial losses, and pain and suffering. In many cases, you might be able to get compensated without filing a lawsuit or going to court. Our firm has obtained financial compensation for torn ACLs on behalf of numerous clients.
There is one more thing to keep in mind. If you have an ACL tear, you are at risk greater risk of tearing your meniscus. The ACL creates a loose knee that can easily cause injury to the meniscus. One weakness can cause another injury.
If you remember, we saw this with Kevin Durant with his calf injury that led to an Achilles tendon tear in the 2019 NBA Finals. People suffer meniscus injuries after an ACL tear from simply climbing stairs.
So if you have a meniscus injury while recovering from your ACL, a good plaintiffs' attorney will make the case that the meniscus injury was caused by the car crash even though it happened much later in.
The average settlement value of ACL or PCL injuries is between $50,000 to $110,000. The most serious ligament injury cases can have an even higher value of more than $200,000.
This applies to civil personal injury car accident lawsuits. The average workers' comp settlement for a torn ACL is generally much less.
The primary factor that drives the settlement value of a torn ACL or PCL injury case is the type and severity of the injury to the ACL or PCL ligament. Less severe injuries such as ACL or PCL sprains are worth much less. A torn ACL or PCL is a much more serious injury and has a higher settlement payout.
No. A torn ACL or PCL is a type of injury that can be visually identified with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This type of objective diagnostic imaging makes ACL/PCL tears comparatively easy to prove in a lawsuit.
Yes. Injuries to the knees are very common in car accidents because the knees are very vulnerable to the sudden impact force of an accident. Car accidents and sports-related injuries are the 2 leading causes of ACL and PCL tears.
Below are sample verdicts and settlements for cases involving ACL tears. This does not tell you how much compensation you will get for a torn ACL (in fact, these payouts are somewhat low). But it does give you a better idea of the settlement compensation payout ranges in these cases.
- Levine v. Gresham (Pa. 2017): Plaintiff was sitting in her parked car when struck by the defendant when backing out. Plaintiff was awarded $5,000 for torn ACL.
- Conti v. Zisk Properties LLC (Pa. 2016): Plaintiff sued her landlord when she slipped and fell in the basement of her rental unit resulting in an ACL tear. She was awarded $30,000 but the award was reduced to $16,500 based on her comparative negligence.
- Cox v. Worley (Md. 2015): Plaintiff this case was awarded $54,000 for a torn ACL and MCL caused when she was knocked over by an unleashed dog.
- Calloway v. Anthony (Md. 2015): A pedestrian struck by the defendant's car while walking the street and tore her ACL and MCL in her right knee. She was awarded $93,000 nearly half of which was for past medical expenses.
The defense lawyers in accident cases often argue that the crash did not cause the ACL injury. They will allege that the real culprit is a chronic condition over a long period.
Does this argument have teeth? It depends on whether there is an ACL found on the MRI. When you tear your ACL the torn fibers do not receive adequate blood supply. So they disappear.
Lack of an ACL on an MRI is a problem if you are trying to link the injury to the accident. But if your ACL is as clear as day on an MRI, the defense attorney is going to struggle to prove the injury was not from the crash.Contact Us About You Torn ACL
If you suffered a torn ACL or similar injury in an accident, contact our personal injury lawyers at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation. We will evaluate your case and let you know whether you might be entitled to financial compensation.