Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears happen on the soccer field, on the ski slopes, and in football. They also, however, happen in everyday scenarios to non-athletes–during accidents to construction workers, while in a car collision driving to get groceries, and during a slip and fall in a restaurant. No matter how the injury occurred, the result can be the same–long lasting or even permanent impairment, even after surgery. In most patients, the ACL never fully regains its previous strength and knee mobility and stability is, to some degree, lost forever. This is why seeking legal representation is so imperative for victims of ACL tears. It may not sound as catastrophic as a traumatic brain injury, a punctured lung, or a fractured hip, but ACL tears require an incredibly long time to heal and costly procedures, physical therapy, and sometimes a permanent impairment, all of which demand compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to find out what your legal options may be.
What is the ACL?
There are four main ligaments in the knee, and one of which is the ACL. It provides 90 percent of the stability within the knee, which is why standing and walking with a fully torn ACL is impossible. It originates from a notch inside the distal femur and goes up to the tibia, which is why a sudden, jerking, or twisting motion (such as pivoting quickly or slipping on a wet floor) can sever it. The other two ways it can be ruptured is from a sudden impact from the bottom of the foot (such as falling or jumping from a high object) and a direct impact from a car crash or in a football game.
Auto Collisions and Slip and Falls
Aside from sports injuries, the predominant ways in which ACL tears happen are from slip and falls and car accidents. In a slip and fall, the ACL can be torn in two ways, the first being a twisting motion as the traction of the foot gives out and the person tries to compensate by throwing a leg out. This sudden motion can sever a tendon under the right (or wrong) circumstances. Secondly, if the person falls directly on the knee, the tendon can also be severed. This is also the most likely scenario of a torn ACL resulting from a car accident. While crumple zone technology saves countless lives every year, the front end of the car is actually designed to fold or compress inwards (to absorb the impact), which pushes the dashboard and front of the car into the two front-seat occupants’ knees. This direct impact can easily cause damage to the knee and ACL tear. Often, the meniscus cartilage is also torn when the ACL is torn, resulting in what is essentially two injuries.
In most cases, the victim of an ACL tear will undergo surgery to reattach the tendon. In some cases, if the patient does not have any athletic goals (possibly if they are at an advanced age and do not want the risks associated with surgery) or if the tendon suffered only a partial tear, they may not undergo surgery. This will likely greatly compromise the mobility and strength of the tendon. Either way, the healing process is long and the costs are very high. If you or a loved one have suffered an ACL tear through no fault of your own, you may be able to receive compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney from the law offices of Berman & Riedel, LLP at 858-350-8855 today to learn about your legal options.