Can You Tear a Meniscus in a Car Accident?
The knee is a fragile and complex part of the body that is prone to many different forms of injury during the sudden and powerful impact of a car accident. One of the many fragile parts of the knee is the meniscus, which commonly tears when suddenly twisted.
Meniscus tears during car accidents are common and can be hard to identify, which makes hiring an experienced attorney important when filing a personal injury case.
At Crosley Law, we have seen all forms of major and minor knee injuries caused by car accidents. We know the value of your claim and work hard to make sure the insurance company pays you the true value of your pain and suffering.
In this article, we will cover the anatomy of the meniscus, common causes and symptoms of a meniscus tear, other common knee injuries, what to do after an injury occurs, and factors that may affect your claim’s success.
What is the Meniscus?
The meniscus is a small piece of cartilage that allows your knee to perform most of its basic functions, such as walking, standing, and more. Made up of two main sections, the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus, the meniscus acts as a cushion between your thigh and shin bones. Any amount of damage to this tissue can lead to extreme pain when pressure is applied to your leg.
The meniscus is also responsible for stabilization, shock-absorption, and load bearing and transmission. Although the meniscus is a main part of the knee, it is quite small and fragile, only supported by the ligaments surrounding it, which are equally fragile. Injuries to the meniscus can lead to lifelong complications, including surgery and expensive physical therapy. This makes immediate care for any potential injuries extremely important.
Common Causes and Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus From a Car Accident
Auto accident victims can experience a variety of knee injuries. The sudden impact of a car crash can lead to the twisting and rotating of the knee in ways it’s not built to handle. This makes knee injuries, such as a torn meniscus, extremely common among accident victims, and can lead to long-term complications if not properly cared for.
Though there are many causes of a torn meniscus, here are some that are commonly linked to car accidents:
- Knees hitting the dashboard
- Passengers bracing for impact
- Knees bending while legs push on the brake
- Side impact causing rotation and twisting
- Front-end impact leading to compression of the knee
To identify if you have a knee injury, visit a medical professional as soon as possible to diagnose your injury and connect it to your accident. Some injuries can start out as minor but then cause severe pain and permanent injury when left untreated. If you or a loved one have any of the following symptoms, seek out a medical professional for treatment:
- Joint stiffness
- Knee pain
- Popping in the knee
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears and Other Common Types of Knee Injuries
The meniscus is only one of many extremely delicate parts of the knee joint. The sudden impact that comes with a car accident can lead to a variety of injuries, varying in severity from sprains that simply need rest for proper healing to serious tears that require surgery and lengthy physical therapy to fix.
If you are injured in an auto accident, seek immediate medical treatment to ensure your injuries are properly diagnosed and cared for.
Below are some examples of some other common knee injuries to be aware of:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries-also known as “dashboard knee”
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tears
- Knee fractures
- Knee sprain
- Knee strain
- Knee dislocation
If you have any of the above injuries in addition to a tear in the meniscus, your case might provide you with greater financial compensation. Be sure to get proper medical treatment and diagnosis to avoid further physical damage and to avoid missing out on any potential compensation.
Tearing a Meniscus in a Car Accident: What to Do Next
Car accidents can leave victims confused, angry, and wondering what will happen next. If you or a loved one was in an auto accident that has left you with traumatic injuries, your priority is to seek medical attention.
Serious injuries, like meniscus or ligament tears, should be seen by a medical professional immediately. After you are properly diagnosed and given treatment, following these next steps can help strengthen your case and increase your chances of compensation.
When it is safe to do so, be sure to take as many photos and videos as possible of the scene of your car accident. The more proof you have linking your injury to someone else’s negligence, the more likely your case is to succeed.
If there are any eyewitnesses, be sure to get their testimony, if possible. An eyewitness with the right view can change the outcome of your case, like in the case of Ronald’s motorcycle meniscus injury.
Call Your Insurance Company and File a Police Report
Calling your insurance company sooner rather than later will help you to start the claim process early, which will lead to a quicker resolution. It will also prove your responsibility and put you in a stronger position for success.
Contacting the police as soon as possible so they can help to document your side of the story and control the scene of the accident is also important. A police report can be one of your strongest tools in proving negligence, so be as accurate and honest as possible when telling your story.
Continue Treatment and Document Costs
After your injury is diagnosed, it is important to get documented medical records of your visit. In some cases, like Kathryn’s, your insurance company may try to blame your injury on a pre-existing condition. Having proof of a connection between your car accident and your torn meniscus will help to prevent this potential pitfall.
Be sure to also document any expenses associated with treatment, such as those for a knee brace, a physical exam, or meniscus repair surgery. These costs will be factored into your settlement, so you don’t have to worry about the financial burden of the care you deserve.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
The insurance claim process can be complicated and frustrating for someone without experience. Hiring a personal injury law firm early in the process can help you and your loved ones focus on the recovery process while your attorney does the hard work.
Your lawyer can handle communications with the insurance company, investigation of your accident, calculating lost wages and medical bills, and even fighting back if your insurance company unfairly denies your claim.
Factors That May Affect Your Torn Meniscus Injury Claim
Meniscus injury cases can be complex and the amount of compensation you are due after an accident can depend on several variables. These variables can change the overall success of your claim, as well as the amount your insurance company will cover, so it is important to be thorough while gathering evidence and assessing your injuries.
Some factors that may affect your meniscus tear injury claim include:
- The need for surgery. If a meniscus tear requires surgery, your compensation amount will go up to reflect medical bills and future costs. A lateral meniscus tear can lead to arthroscopic surgery to fix your knee, something you shouldn’t have to pay for out-of-pocket.
- How soon pain begins. If you don’t experience immediate pain, this may lead your insurance company to claim your injuries are not as serious as they may be or blame your injuries on another cause.
- Severity of your injury. If an injury can heal on its own, then you may receive a much lower settlement or even be denied by your insurance company.
- Quality of evidence. Be sure to take pictures of your car accident, as well as your injury. Documenting any swelling or other symptoms will help strengthen your case, along with medical records and proof of continued treatment.
- Immediate medical care. The sooner you seek medical attention, the more successful your case will be. This shows your commitment to your wellbeing, as well as implying injuries severe enough to require a doctor.
Crosley Law: Defending the Rights of Car Accident Victims in San Antonio, TX
At Crosley Law, we know that getting injured in a car accident can leave you and your loved ones wondering what to do next. By calling an experienced injury lawyer, you can remove the burden from your family and let us take care of dealing with the insurance company. We fight back when they offer an unfair settlement using a cutting-edge legal process that puts your needs first.
If you or a loved one need legal assistance due to an injury from a car accident, contact us today or call our offices at (210) LAW-3000 for your free consultation.
Eleftherios, M., Pasha, H., & Kyriacos, A. (2011, July 18). The knee meniscus: structure-function, pathophysiology, current repair techniques, and prospects for regeneration. Biomaterials, vol#32 (30), 7411-7431. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.06.037. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3161498/
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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