Car Accident Knee Injury: Causes & How to Get Compensation

Knee injuries are an interesting type of car accident injury because suffering often continues long after after the initial injury has healed. A car accident knee injury may require surgery to heal, and even after repair, lingering pain and mobility issues may result.

How Knee Injuries Occur in Car Accidents

Perhaps the most common way a knee injury can occur in a car accident is by hitting part of the car with your knees. A knee injury can also occur if your knee twists during the impact. For example, if you are pressing your foot down on the gas pedal and another car T-bones you, your knee may twist as your body moves around in your seat.

The signs of a knee injury are varied and do not always result in an inability to walk. Pain is the one symptom common with all knee injuries, although the type and severity will vary depending on the injury. Swelling, bruising, and a snapping or popping sound are also common.

Common Types of Knee Injuries

ACL and MCL tears

An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is one of the most common knee injuries. Many sports players suffer these injuries, especially in football and basketball, as it is caused by an unnatural twist or extension of the knee. This car accident injury can cause extreme and immediate pain, as well as rapid swelling which can render the injured unable to walk.

A torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear, similar to a torn ACL, occurs after the outer knee sustains an impact that damages the inner knee and ligaments.  Torn MCLs often occur when your knee strikes the vehicle door or dashboard.

Ruptured Patellar Tendon

Another soft-tissue knee injury is a ruptured patellar tendon. This tendon connects the bottom of the kneecap to the shinbone. When the tendon ruptures, it causes extreme pain, an inability to straighten your leg, and limited mobility.

Torn meniscus

These occur when the connective tissue within the knee (menisci) cracks or tears from the ends of the knee bones. This type of injury, caused by direct impact to the knee, may be accompanied by knee bone fractures.

Long-Term Consequences of Knee Injuries

Treatment for knee injuries can range from anti-inflammatory medications to surgery to physical therapy. Most injuries will keep you off your feet for several days, and you will need to use crutches or a wheelchair for several weeks to several months in order to keep weight off the joint. You may need to attend physical therapy sessions to restore range of movement and improve weight-bearing ability.

The medical care for a knee injury can quickly reach the tens of thousands of dollars, especially if you require surgery. In addition to medical costs, most knee injury patients must take several days or weeks off of work for recovery. If you had a job that required long periods of walking, standing, or taking stairs, you may no longer be able to return to that line of work.

Seeking Compensation for Knee Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

When filing your insurance claim for your car accident, keep in mind the full scope of your damages. You may know your current medical expenses, but you will need to account for any future care such as additional surgeries and follow-up exams. Additionally, if you are still out of work when the insurer offers a settlement, make sure you have an understanding of if and when you will be able to return to your regular income level.

A knee injury settlement should include the following types of compensation:

  • Medical bills (current and estimated future)
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity (if you become unable to return to your previous job)
  • Pain and suffering (especially if the injury causes permanent damage)


In order to win a fair and adequate settlement for your car accident claim, you will not only need to prove another party caused the accident, but also that your knee injury resulted from that accident. Many insurance adjusters try to get a claimant's old medical records to see if the victim had a past knee injury. If they find this information, they may try to claim that your current knee injury was a pre-existing condition and refuse to cover the damage.

To combat this situation, you may need an expert medical witness to read your past and current imaging scans and testify that there is new damage not related to your old injuries. With this type of expert proof, you should be able to argue that the accident caused your current injury.

Note: To avoid this, sign a release form that only grants the adjuster access to your current medical records.

Let Max Meyers Help You Settle Your Knee Injury Claim

Obtaining a fair settlement for a car accident claim is no easy feat. Do not let the insurance companies convince you to settle for a meager amount. Ensure that your settlement gives you all that you are entitled to by working with a Washington car accident lawyer.

Contact Max Meyers Law to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your potential claim at 425-242-5595.

Max Meyers
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.