Common Knee Injuries from Car Accidents

Reviewed by Louis Patino, JD, DC

Louis Patino, JD, DC
A former U.S. Army Combat Medic, Dr. Louis Patino is a distinguished attorney recognised by Top Attorneys of America, Expertise, and the American Institute of Trial Lawyers. He has a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Southern University and a Doctor of Chiropractic from Parker College of Chiropractic.

Car accidents happen across Texas every day. How many? According to 2020 data, one crash occurred every one minute and seven seconds. That same year, 14,656 people sustained serious injuries, with thousands more dying or suffering less severe injuries.

Among the most common are leg or knee injuries after a car accident, ranging from a broken bone that heals after a few months to permanent damage that might affect your ability to walk and be independent.

What Are the Symptoms of a Knee Injury after a Car Accident?

Depending on the type of injury you suffer after a car accident, you might know straight away, or it may take days or weeks before you begin to experience symptoms. However, there are some key signs to look out for that could indicate you have a knee injury from your car accident.

See how much compensation you could receive for your leg or knee injury by booking a free case review with our Texas personal injury lawyer. We will fight to recover maximum compensation and you only pay when we win your claim.


An injury in the knee or leg area can cause discoloration. The color can range from red or purple — if it’s inflamed or bruised — to yellow or green, which indicates an infection. If you see any changes in the physical appearance of your knee after a car accident, you should see a doctor.

Change in Temperature

A key sign of a knee injury after a car accident, or after any incident, is a variation in temperature. When your body is injured, it’ll respond by sending more blood to the area to help it heal. This can make the area feel warm to the touch. However, you should also watch out for your knee feeling cooler than usual. This indicates that your blood isn’t circulating properly. In either case, it’s vital to seek medical treatment, especially if you’re also experiencing other symptoms.

Weakness or Limited Range of Motion

If your leg or knee is injured, you’ll likely experience weakness. You might also struggle to move the way you usually do. If you struggle to flex or bend your knee or extend your leg out straight, you might have a joint injury. The knee joints deteriorate naturally as we get older, but if you experience weakness or loss of movement suddenly, especially if you’ve recently been in an accident, it’s likely the result of a knee injury.

Pain in the Leg or Knee

Pain is one of the most common and obvious signs of a knee injury after a car accident. Pain can vary from a stabbing or burning sensation to a constant ache. Depending on your injury, your knee might hurt when you touch or move it.

What Are the Most Common Knee Injuries after a Car Accident?

The knee is a complex structure of bones, tendons, and ligaments, and even a minor sprain or tear can cause pain that makes it difficult to do daily activities and live a fulfilling life. It’s not surprising, given that the knee is one of the most used joints in the human body and plays a crucial role as we go about our days.

Some of the most common knee injuries include:

Knee Fracture

A knee fracture is a common yet serious injury. It’s easy to rank it at the bottom of the scale because bone breaks often heal with rest. It’s certainly not as impactful as being permanently disabled or losing a limb, but breaking a bone isn’t without complication.

If a fracture doesn’t heal correctly or the bone is broken in multiple places, the leg can become deformed, or you may develop arthritis. Later on, this can cause chronic pain and require surgery — such as a total or partial knee replacement.

Knee Dislocation

Knee dislocations are rare but can still happen. Usually, this knee injury will happen during a car accident when a strong force directly hits the knee. This might happen in a rear-end crash if the impact of the accident is absorbed by the knee, such as if you get shunted into your dashboard or steering column.

If a knee dislocation isn’t treated, it can lead to a permanent loss of mobility due to nerve damage. If an artery is torn, you might have internal bleeding, which can be fatal.

Knee Sprain

Sprains and strains are common knee injuries from car accidents. These happen when the ligaments, tendons, muscles, or joints in the knee are stretched or torn. This type of injury is graded based on severity. A Grade I injury represents minimal pain and will usually heal fairly quickly with rest and ice, while a Grade III injury will cause serious pain that may require long-term management.

Torn Cartilage

Cartilage damage, also known as a torn meniscus, happens when a force causes the knee to abruptly shift. This cartilage is a barrier around the joint that absorbs shock and protects the knee. When you have torn cartilage, you’ll typically experience swelling, and your knee may lock up or click when you move. You may be prescribed medication and physiotherapy to ease the pain and help rebuild strength, but surgery is commonly needed to fully repair the damage.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

A torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) happens when the knee twists or the lower leg extends too far. It’s a common sports injury, with the usual culprits being landing incorrectly, suddenly changing direction or stopping, and being tackled, such as when playing football. But a torn ACL is also a common knee injury after a car accident.

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament is a tough band of tissue, and you won’t always need surgery. However, the ACL plays a vital role in supporting and stabilizing the knee, so if your injury impacts your quality of life, you may need surgery to restore movement and function.

Medial Collateral Ligament Injury

Similar to a torn ACL, Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injuries are common during car accidents. This ligament connects the bones in the thigh and lower leg, and damage can range from mild to severe. A sprained MCL can typically be treated without surgery, but a tear is more severe and can cause pain and discomfort. For someone who has torn their MCL, it can feel like their knee is loose and could give way.

What Compensation Is Available for Knee Injuries after a Car Accident?

When a person sustains an injury to their knee, they may develop lifelong complications as a result. These can include mobility disorders that make it near-impossible or difficult to move without agonizing pain.

Your injury may be treatable with rehabilitation, surgery, or pain management, but ongoing medical care can leave you with a hefty financial burden.

Knee injuries can be particularly devastating if they impact a person’s life over the long term — sometimes more so than other traumatic injuries. We rely on our knees to support us when we stand and walk, so damage can make daily living uncomfortable.

Just some of the long-term problems knee injuries after a car accident can cause are:

  • Mobility disabilities
  • Nerve damage, causing pain or local paralysis
  • Long-term joint pain
  • Bone fractures
  • Traumatic damage to the knee joint, causing difficulty walking and pain
  • Severe lacerations, causing shock or infection risks.

Any of these may require substantial treatment and impact your ability to work. Fortunately, our personal injury lawyers in San Antonio and McAllen can help you recover those expenses.

If your car accident wasn’t your fault, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault party and recover the costs of your medical bills — both past and future — and your lost wages. If you suffered a severe injury that has prevented you from returning to work or caused you to switch careers — for example, if you worked on your feet and can no longer stand without being in pain — you can seek compensation for the impact of your injury on your life. In some cases, the compensation you’re entitled to could be substantial.

If you have a knee injury from a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you might be facing hefty medical bills and other costs. You don’t deserve to pay for someone else’s careless mistakes. Our car accident lawyers in McAllen and San Antonio can help you claim the compensation you deserve. Book a free case review today by filling in the contact form or calling 855-LAW-NINJA.

Patino Law Firm
1802 N 10th St
McAllen, TX 78501

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