Ruptured Patellar Tendon from a Car Accident

A car accident is a traumatic experience and can be even more so if you sustain an injury. Knee injuries can be severe for front seat passengers or drivers. One painful knee injury a victim can sustain in an accident is a ruptured patellar tendon.

What is the patellar tendon?

The patellar tendon connects the bottom of the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). This tendon is responsible for your ability to straighten your legs and your knees. During a severe impact or a jump, the patellar tendon may tear and the rupture can be either partial or complete.

What happens during a patellar tendon rupture?

During a car accident, you may suffer injuries to the knee or the kneecap, especially if you are a driver or front seat passenger. In a partial tear, some of the fibers may be damaged, but the tendon is intact. However, in a complete rupture of the patellar tendon, the entire soft tissue is ripped in two. Typically, the tendon tears exactly at the spot where it attached to the kneecap. A bone fracture may also accompany a ruptured patellar tendon.

How does a patellar tendon rupture in a car accident?

One common cause of a patellar tendon rupture is a car accident. When a person suffers significant impact to the kneecap in a car accident, there is the potential for the patellar tendon to be ruptured or torn.

In a car accident, the front of the knee can come in contact with the interior of the car or the dashboard with great force, causing a rupture of the tendon. Remember, however, that symptoms of a patellar tendon rupture are often not visible immediately. You might not even notice swelling until a few hours later, which is why it is important to go to the ER soon after your accident and have a doctor check you out. You may begin to notice pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the legs after a few hours.

What are the consequences of a patellar tendon rupture?

When you have suffered a ruptured patellar tendon, you cannot straighten your knee or leg. That means that you may be unable to walk, or even sit for long periods of time, which can severely limit your mobility. This limited mobility can continue for weeks or months until recovery from surgery, which could affect your ability to return to work and earn a living.

Moreover, even after recovery, a person may continue to experience limited mobility, and difficulty bending his knees, for years or even the rest of his lifetime.

What types of damages can I recover in a claim for a ruptured patellar tendon?

Your claim should include damages for the medical expenses incurred in the treatment of the patellar tendon. Remember, treatment often includes surgery. This is followed by therapy, and sometimes, a patient may be required to wear a cast or knee immobilizer for several weeks. (Note: If you used your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage to cover your medical bills, be sure to include that in your damages to ensure fair and full compensation.)

Additionally, your claim can include damages for the lost wages you suffered as a result of the injury, and the lost potential earning capacity that could last for several months, or even the rest of your lifetime.

Remember, even after a complete recovery, you may continue to face mobility restrictions. Your claim can also include damages for physical and mental pain and suffering, disability, and other damages. 

If you have suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in a car accident, discuss the various types of damages that you may claim, as well as the parties to identify in your claim with a car accident lawyer. Call a legal professional at Max Meyers PLLC at 425-242-5595 or fill out our online form to discuss your claim.

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