Knee Injuries in Automobile Accidents

For many years, the largest safety worry for companies who make cars was making cars that protect the driver and passengers from injuries that could kill them, as opposed to worrying about knee injuries in automobile accidents. Because people are using airbags and wearing seat belts, drivers and passengers are surviving accidents that used to kill people.

Knee InjuriesBecause the car makers have been worrying about protecting the head, neck, and chest, they have not worried so much about protecting the legs. The legs are the main way that the body moves. Injuries to the legs aren’t usually deadly, but a lot of the time they call for extended stays in the hospital and long treatments.

New studies show that legs are the second most often injured part of the body in car crashes. Also, bad leg injuries can cause even worse leg problems later. Along with the physical and mental problems leg injuries cause, they also can cost people a lot of money. Medical care, treatment, and the time you lose when you are hurt make leg injuries the second most expensive injury. For these reasons, it is important to deal with the problems of the legs in crash testing.

Medline Plus Health Information

How Are Knee Problems Diagnosed?

Doctors use several methods to diagnose different knee problems.

Medical history: The patient will begin by telling the doctor any and all details concerning symptoms and they will discuss any injury, condition, or other general health problems that might be causing the pain whether they are related to the accident or not.

Physical examination

Physical examination: The doctor will bend, straighten, and rotate the knee, or press on the knee in order to feel for the injury and discover the limits of movement and the location of pain. The patient may be asked to stand, walk, or perform other similar movements to help the doctor assess the knee’s function.

Diagnostic tests: The doctor uses one or more tests to determine the nature of a knee problem.

X-ray (radiography): An x-ray beam is passed through the knee to produce a two-dimensional picture of the bones.

Computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan: X-rays lasting a fraction of a second are passed through the knee at different angles, detected by a scanner, and analyzed by a computer; this produces a series of clear cross-sectional images (“slices”) of the knee tissues on a computer screen. CAT scan images show soft tissues such as ligaments or muscles more clearly than conventional x rays. The computer can combine individual images to give a three-dimensional view of the knee.

Bone scan (radionuclide scanning):  A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into the patient’s bloodstream and detected by a scanner. This test detects blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone and can show abnormalities in these processes that may aid diagnosis.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Energy from a powerful magnet (rather than x rays) stimulates knee tissue to produce signals that are detected by a scanner and analyzed by a computer. This creates a series of cross-sectional images of a specific part of the knee. An MRI is particularly useful for detecting soft tissue damage or disease. Like a CAT scan, a computer is used to produce three-dimensional views of the knee during MRI.

Arthroscopy: The doctor manipulates a small and lighted optic tube (arthroscope) that has been inserted into the joint through a small incision in the knee. Images of the inside of the knee joint are then projected onto a screen so they can better view the images.

While the arthroscope is inside the knee joint, the doctor can then begin the removal of any loose pieces of bone or cartilage. They can also repair torn ligaments and menisci.

Biopsy: The doctor removes tissue to further examine the tissue under a microscope.

For more info on Knees:

How Are Knee Problems Diagnosed?” Medline Plus Health Information Home Page. 2001.

Soft Tissue Injury

A soft tissue injury can include muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendon injuries, and other soft tissue injuries like myofascial tissue, joint capsules, and other connective tissue.

Prompt medical attention is recommended, especially if you were recently involved in a car accident that resulted in the injury in your knees and legs. The first three days following a soft tissue injury will require a lot of rest to avoid putting added stress or pain and cause further damage. Twenty to thirty-minute icing sessions every two to three hours, compression to help alleviate any swelling, and elevation are required for additional support to the injured area and to help reduce the swelling.

These factors involve time you have to take off work which can also result in loss wages due to the automobile accident. The medical bills may also begin to add up due to the tests that the doctor will have to run to ensure that no further damage was caused because of the automobile accident.

muscleFurther treatment following a soft tissue injury will require pain relief, muscle strengthening, proprioceptive retraining, heat or ice therapy, and continued professional help and physical therapy.

Pain relief should be safely managed with the use of natural products and over the counter medications, but depending on the severity of the injury, you may require a stronger pain relief option.

To regain full movement in your legs, it is important that you participate in muscle-strengthening exercises to help provide support for the injury. During the therapy, the healthcare professional can also better assess the injury and will be able to identify any other problems or abnormalities that may be present.

Proprioceptive retraining is for an injury that caused nerve damage that affects the joints. The healthcare professional will help you come up with exercises that are best suited for your condition and abilities. Heat and ice application can help ease any muscle soreness that may follow the injury that occurred during the car accident. A healthcare professional will be better able to assist you with your treatment to find the most effective plan for you.

Knee Cap Damage

knees hittingA collision that results in your knees hitting the side door, window or roof of the car can cause considerable damage to your knee caps. To repair damage to the knee caps, you will most likely have to have surgery which is an open reduction internal fixation procedure to fix the damage caused by the accident.

The therapy that is required after the surgery can become costly and can last between six and nine months. The surgery costs and therapy costs alone could end up costing you between $6000 and $12000.

Ligament Damage

Ligament damage is also a common injury that can occur in a car accident. The most common injury is to the anterior cruciate ligament, otherwise known as the ACL. The ACL is the ligament that provides flexibility in the knees. The total cost of surgery and therapy due to this type of injury can cost up to $6000.

Meniscus Injury

car accidentYou could also suffer a meniscus injury due to a car accident. The force of the impact can cause a tear or rupture and the pain can become moderate to severe. There may also be swelling, a popping sound and your knees may begin to lock up. It is important to have a health care professional assess the extent of the injuries sustained from the car accident.

In more severe cases, surgery and post-surgery therapy may be required to repair the meniscus. There are also instances that may require a total meniscectomy which means that the injury is beyond repair and the damaged menisci will have to be removed and replaced with a prosthetic. The surgery can end up costing upwards of $8000 and you will have a nine-month therapy and recovery time that will result in higher bills and more lost wages because of your injuries sustained during the car accident.

Car Accident Knee Injury Claims

While a car accident can cause several types of injuries, a knee injury can become a serious condition. When you file a claim for a knee injury, you are examining the negligence and liability of the responsible party so that you can reclaim some of your losses. These losses can include medical bills, pain, and suffering, and time you lose at work due to the injuries.

It is important to consult with an experienced accident injury lawyer that can help you through the process and help you recover losses. An experienced accident injury lawyer can also speak with the insurance company, help you collect evidence including police reports and medical bills and records, and will help you throughout the process from start to finish while keeping your best interests in mind.

Were You injured in in Oregon or Washington?

Peterson Law Offices, Todd Peterson, attorney

Contact Todd Peterson

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