Learn important factors in car accident knee injury settlements
Knee, ankle and leg injuries occur often in many car accidents. If you have suffered a broken leg, ankle or knee injury, what can you expect in a potential personal injury settlement?
The purpose of this article is to give you an overview of car accident leg injuries involving the leg, ankle and knee, as well as average settlement amounts. After you review this information, it is a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney to review your specific claim.
Leg, Knee and Ankle Injury Overview
Injuries to the lower body are frequent in car accidents. They are particularly serious in many head-on and side-impact car wrecks. The violence of such accidents can cause the leg and its assorted parts to be crushed, twisted or stretched in an unnatural manner.
Knees, ankles and feet contain at least 60 bones that may be damaged in a car accident. These bones are especially delicate and prone to injury. Unfortunately, these body parts also are sensitive and injuries to them are very painful. They are also very expensive to treat. People with serious leg, ankle and knee injuries can face a long term or even permanent disability.
Some common injuries to these parts of the body are:
- Broken bones: High speed, violent crashes can cause the knee and/or foot to smash into the steering wheel or floor of the vehicle. This can cause a shattering of various parts of the leg, such as the knee cap, femur, ankle or foot bones.
- Strains and sprains: The ankle and knee are very susceptible to a strain or sprain. These occur when they are twisted or otherwise manipulated unnaturally in a motor vehicle accident. Soft tissue injuries can affect ligaments, cartilage, muscles and tendons that connect the bones in the leg, ankle, knee and foot.
- Tear to the meniscus: This knee injury can be caused by a twisting of the knee joint or bending it unnaturally. This can be a long-term injury that affects mobility.
- ACL or MCL tear: The anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament are vital to the integrity of the knee and can be torn in a car accident. If a ligament tears in the crash, you may hear a popping and followed by pain and swelling. The knee will not be able to bear much weight and will be unstable from side to side.
- Dashboard knee: The knee is close to your dashboard. It is common for the knee to hit the dashboard in major accidents.
There are many other serious injuries that may affect your legs, knees and ankles. You could have serious cuts or bruises, burns, puncture wounds, and in the worst cases, a leg might have to be partially or entirely amputated. Amputation can happen during the crash or could be needed to treat your injuries if the legs were crushed.
Potential Compensation for Leg, Knee and Ankle Injuries
Serious injuries to your leg, knee or ankle in a car accident may make it very difficult or impossible to walk or to put any weight on your legs. In less severe accidents, you may need to not put weight on the leg for weeks. Serious car accident injuries could necessitate the use of a cast, surgery, prescription drugs, physical therapy and steroid injections to reduce pain and swelling.
These treatments for such severe lower body injuries are expensive. This is especially the case for leg, knee and ankle injuries that are permanent. Such severe injuries will not allow you to fully recover your health and income earning ability you had before the accident. If the accident was the fault of another person, he or she should have to help you deal with medical costs. Also, you should not have to deal with financial losses and pain and suffering without appropriate compensation.
The person or persons who caused your leg, knee or ankle injuries can be held responsible in civil liability court for the cost of your injuries. This simply means the person could have to compensate you in some or these ways:
- Your medical costs and all bills related to the leg injuries.
- All your lost wages. If you had to take off work or use your sick and vacation time, you should be paid for this. For many workers, foot, ankle, leg and knee injuries have long-term or permanent implications on their ability to work and earn a living. There are many examples of blue collar workers with serious leg injuries who no longer can move about and do their work. You could be entitled to compensation for the wages you will lose over your life.
- Compensation for your pain and suffering. Depending upon the injury and amount of pain and suffering, you could be entitled to several times the amount of your medical bills and lost wages. Most insurance companies and juries use a multiplier to determine the degree of pain and suffering compensation. This number usually is from 1-5 and is multiplied by your fixed injury costs. This includes both physical and mental pain and suffering.
Average Settlement Amounts for Leg, Knee and Ankle Injuries
The amount of your personal injury settlement will vary based upon many factors. It is necessary to speak to an experienced car accident personal injury attorney to get a good idea of a potential settlement amount for your broken ankle, broken leg or injured knee.
However, some recent information by Jury Verdict Research sheds some light on knee injury lawsuit settlements:
- The average verdict amount in a serious knee injury case was $359,000
- The median knee injury verdict was $114,000
- In 8% of knee injury cases reviewed, the verdict was more than $1 million
Of course, how ‘severe’ is defined is variable. Jury Verdict Research states that ‘severe’ is a knee fracture, knee dislocation, knee replacement, or aggravation of a prior injury to the knee. Approximately 50% of the knee injury cases reviewed were car accidents, and the other half were other types of personal injuries, such as premises liability cases. Knee injuries are very common in slip and fall cases.
Jury Verdict Research does not offer information about the average knee injury lawsuit verdict or settlement for car accidents. But the median verdict for a car accident knee injury was $94,400. The range in these cases was $26,000 to $216,000. That is a very wide range, and your verdict amount could be at either end of the range.
Below is more interesting information for average knee injury settlements, according to Jury Verdict Research:
- Collisions in intersections have average knee injury verdicts of $70,700.
- Pedestrian knee injury verdicts had a median verdict of $150,000.
- Car accidents with a turn and collision had a median knee injury verdict of $90,200.
- Rear end crash knee injuries have a verdict median of just $9000 in the Jury Verdict Research cases reviewed. This is because there are not a lot of knee injury cases in rear end crashes. Some of the claims are with a preexisting injury, which means these are tough legal cases to win.
Motorcycle knee injury verdicts, as you may imagine, are often higher because the damage is more severe. The median verdict in such cases was $191,000, with a range of $83,000 to $287,000. For those who have suffered a knee, leg or ankle injury on a motorcycle, it is significant to remember that juries tend to be biased against motorcyclists. Whether this is fair or not is not at issue; it is a frequent reality in the courtroom. That is why you should retain a very experienced and effective motorcycle accident personal injury attorney in such a case.
For ankle and foot injuries, Jury Verdict Research has found the average verdict amount is $700,000, with a median amount of $100,000. Experts note that ankle and foot injuries are complicated because of the amount of weight that is placed on that part of the body. It is common for insurance adjusters and juries to not understand the severity of such injuries. Thus, it is incumbent upon your attorney to make them understand the degree of your injury and disability.
Leg, Knee and Ankle Injury Summary
It is common in a serious car accident for the insurance company and defense attorney to argue that your x-rays and various medical tests only reveal ‘minor’ leg, ankle and knee injuries. Some of these injuries may look relatively minor, but a good personal injury attorney will be able to clearly illustrate with medical proof for the jury or insurance company that you have suffered a substantial injury. Experienced attorneys will collect medical records, medical test results and strong evidence to show that your injuries have given you a serious disability. Just be aware that lawyers and insurance companies want to discount your leg injuries and pay out as little as possible. It is important to get a good leg injury attorney, and to also have your injuries documented as clearly as possible by a medical professional immediately after the car accident.