Updated August 3, 2021
ACL Injury Settlement
Despite being common injuries that should be easy to prove, torn ACL car accident settlement cases do not always work out in your favor because of factors that can lower your payout amount.
In this article we will cover some of these factors and other ACL injury settlement topics including:
♦ What is the ACL
♦ Common ACL Injuries
♦ Treatment and Recovery for ACL Injuries
♦ Average settlements for a torn ACL
♦ Past Verdicts & Settlements for ACL Lawsuits
Read on below to learn what the ACL is and what kinds of injuries you can sustain in an accident.
Table of Contents
ACL Medical Topics
1 – ACL Injuries
General Settlement Information
8 – About the Author
ACL Injury Anatomy
The ACL, also known as the anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the most important and major ligaments in your knee.
The major bones of the knee are held together by 4 ligaments and the ACL is the ligament inside of the knee in the middle and help control your ability to move your knee back and forth.
This ligament is most often damaged in an accident where you move your leg and knee in a sudden movement where you change directions quickly.
These kinds of sudden stops and changes in your movement and direction result in the tearing of the ACL. A torn ACL commonly happens in a car accident because of the impact that you sustain to your knee in an accident.
When you are told that your ACL is injured, this means most likely that it is torn. An ACL tear is classified as either a complete tear or a partial tear.
These two levels of ACL injuries are both painful but differ in recovery time and injury level:
♦ Partial Tear: Also known as a sprain of the ACL where the ligament is still in tact in some manner.
♦ Complete Tear: A complete ACL tear means that this ligament is now fully separated and can no longer perform its function of holding the knee together.
You will know if you have a torn ACL immediately as the pain and symptoms are instantaneous for most people. The symptoms of a torn ACL, partial or complete include:
♦ Loss of control over the knee
♦ A popping sound/ noise coming from the knee
♦ Inability to carry out normal functions of the knee
ACL injuries often are severe and most commonly are complete tears. ACL injuries also require surgery as this is not an injury that you can recover from without medical intervention.
Torn ACL car accident settlements take this into account because recovery and pain and suffering as well as quality of life are affected in severe manners.
Torn ACL Treatments
An ACL lawsuit will take into account the treatment that you receive, with the more intrusive treatments and recovery leading to ACL Injury Settlements that are higher.
An ACL, once torn, will not be able to repair itself on its own. This torn ligament will require surgery in most cases.
In some situations, long-term wearing of a knee brace coupled with extensive physical therapy can help the recovery process for less serious partial tears. However, it is important to note that with non-surgery options, even in less serious partial tears, the knee will never fully recover to its pre-accident functionality without surgery.
If full mobility in the knee is wanted, then surgery will be needed. This is an invasive process in which the knee needs to in essence be reconstructed with the use of tissue grafts. These grafts are what help the ACL recover and grow around the implant.
The surgery will then require months of rehabilitation for there to be recovery which is why torn ACL car accident settlements should take into account the months of time off from normal activity that you will have to endure. If the ACL injury is permanent, then your payout will be larger.
Average Settlement for Torn ACL
ACL Injury Settlements will be influenced heavily by factors such as prior injuries, extent of your current injury, and your recovery and treatment.
A torn ACL is serious and no matter what course of treatment you go through, it will take months of recovery before you can resume normal activities as you did prior to the accident.
Reconstructive surgery is often needed and the high expenses, long recovery time, lost wages, inability to work and the pain and suffering generally ensure high average settlement for torn ACLs. On the lower average end, a torn ACL can result in a settlement that ranges between $50,000 to $100,000.
Not everything will work in your favor and some variables can cause your ACL injury settlement to be lower.
Factors Impacting ACL Injury Settlements
One such factor is that of prior ACL injury. If you have had a prior ACL injury there is a high chance that you will see a lower settlement. Another factor in your ACL lawsuit value will be the extent of your injury.
Some ACL treatments will bring your knee back to a level that it is functioning normally. Others however will be severe to the point that you may be permanently affected with an inability to return to work.
This is especially true if you have a job that requires you to be active. If your ACL injury is severe, then you may be unable to ever return to your previous job which can see your earning capacity diminished vastly.
Torn ACL’s Are Worth More
In a case like this, your pain and suffering coupled with the permanence of the accident’s effects on your livelihood can mean an ACL Injury Settlement that is considerably higher. The average settlement for torn ACLs can go as high as $150,000 to $200,000.
Another important consideration in a torn ACL case is that it can lead to further knee injuries later in life as well and the tearing of other muscles and ligaments in the vicinity of the ACL. This is a chain effect as the tear in the middle ligament in the knee, the ACL, can lead to a knee that is more susceptible to other injuries as a consequence.
Pain & Suffering’s Impact on ACL Injury Settlements
While some parts of your settlement for an ACL injury will be easier to state easily, such as lost wages, medical bills and medications, others like potential additional damage to surrounding areas and pain and suffering will not be so easy to calculate on your own.
This pain and suffering will depend highly on you as an individual and your circumstances. Your age, activity level, type of profession and other factors will all play an important role in determining your pain and suffering settlement value. The more your earning capacity is diminished or the more you lose quality of life, the higher ACL Lawsuit value will likely be.
There is, more or less, a formula to how all personal injury cases are valued and how to determine those values.
Sample Verdicts & Settlements
VERDICT: $22,000,000.00. Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in an accident at a red light. When plaintiff got out to assess the situation, he was hit by another car that was not paying attention to the intersection traffic. Plaintiff then suffered multiple injuries including an ACL tear to his right knee. The injuries to the ACL and surrounding area were so severe that an amputation was needed above the knee as it could not be saved with surgery.
VERDICT: $300,000.00. A business owner was struck by a vehicle as he was trying to walk across a public road in the pedestrian crosswalk. The impact caused multiple injuries to the knee and resulted in a torn ACL in the right knee. Plaintiff needed surgery and a considerable amount of recovery treatment and rehabilitation which led to a higher pain and suffering payout to cover for these losses
VERDICT: $40,250.00. Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck. The defendant struck the plaintiff’s vehicle after disregarding a traffic control device which led to the collision that took place. Plaintiff’s major injury was a tear in her right ACL which required both surgery and rehabilitation that lasted months. The plaintiff lost quality of life and was diminished in her daily activities because of this.
VERDICT: $175,000.00. While stopped in a vehicle, the car that the plaintiff was in was struck by two other vehicles. The impact of the injury led to multiple injuries being suffered. The ACL of the left knee was partially torn in the impact. The tear required reconstructive surgery as well as rehabilitation and physical therapy to help restore movement and range of motion in the affected knee.
VERDICT: $346,000.00. a 42 year old plaintiff was driving when she was hit from behind by a pickup truck as she was stopped at a stop sign. The policy limit of $25,000 was paid but the plaintiff filed a further claim against the insurance company for underinsured motorist benefits which the insurance company had refused to pay. The plaintiff argued that the impact of the injury caused her to move forward in a jerking fashion that led to her hitting her knee which caused damage to her ACL. She further stated that the amount paid was not enough o cover the lost income, medical expenses and pain and disability suffered. The insurance company continued to deny her claims and a jury found in the plaintiff’s favor awarding her 250,000 for future pain and suffering as well as additional settlement for past medical expenses and past pain suffered.
ACL Injury Settlement Q&A
Can you tear your ACL in a car accident?
Yes, you can tear your ACL in a car accident, and actually an ACL injury due to a car accident is a very common injury. This is because the ACL takes a great deal of impact in many accidents and any turning or sudden movements can tear this ligament.
Are ACL lawsuits hard to prove in court?
No, these are not very hard cases to prove in court. The reason for this is that a torn ACL can be seen in imaging and the fact that it is damaged is an objective versus subjective observation.
I have a prior ACL injury, will this affect my ACL Injury Settlement?
Yes, A prior ACL injury will impact your settlement value. If you have had damage to your knee ligaments like the ACL or the PCL, then the value of your settlement will be worth much less in most cases.
Do the prior average settlements for a torn ACL in my state affect my settlement?
In a sense, yes, prior averages will make a difference. The settlement averages for cases similar to your own can give you an idea of how much you can potentially expect for an ACL injury that you have suffered. For sure, many lawyers and insurance companies use those prior values, as discussed in our verdict and settlement page.
The reason for this is that a large part of your ACL injury settlement will come potentially from the pain and suffering aspect of the settlement. This is a very subjective and case by case prediction that has to be made and looking at similar cases in your own state will give you an idea of what to expect.
What factors will affect my settlement value in a torn ACL case?
Multiple variables will make a difference in your case including things like your age, your activity level before the accident, the kind of job you have, whether or not you have had an ACL injury in the past and how severe your injury was, i.e. was it a partial or a complete tear to the ligament.
Get Help With Your ACL Settlement from Our
Los Angeles Legal Team
An ACL injury settlement can vary greatly, and the only factor that may be standing in the way of you and a higher settlement you deserve is the pain and suffering aspect of ACL injuries. In order to maximize this, having competent counsel in your corner is the tie-breaker between you and the insurance company.
You can contact the IAG team 24 hours a day to get a free consultation to see what you should do to maximize your case value potential, and get professional help so you’re not facing the insurance company alone.
Supporting Citations, Literature & Resources:
Bodkin, S. G., Werner, B. C., Slater, L. V., & Hart, J. M. (2020). Post-traumatic osteoarthritis diagnosed within 5 years following ACL reconstruction. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, 28(3), 790-796.
Sajjadi, M. M., Ebrahimpour, A., Okhovatpour, M. A., Reza Zandi, M. D., & Emami, H. (2019). Patterns of Meniscus Tears Associated with Posterior Cruciate Ligament Lesions. Iranian Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery, 17(2), 43-49.
Christino, M. A., Fleming, B. C., Machan, J. T., & Shalvoy, R. M. (2016). Psychological factors associated with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction recovery. Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine, 4(3), 2325967116638341.
Heijne, A., Axelsson, K., Werner, S., & Biguet, G. (2008). Rehabilitation and recovery after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: patients’ experiences. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 18(3), 325-335.
Johnson, M. E., Foster, L., & DeLee, J. C. (2008). Neurologic and vascular injuries associated with knee ligament injuries. The American journal of sports medicine, 36(12), 2448-2462.
About the Author
Article Author: This law article was written by attorney Ray Benyamin, Esquire. Mr. Benyamin received his Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and his license to practice law from the State Bar of California. His law license number is 277263. He has been practicing law for 10 years. Mr. Benyamin is a registered member of the following legal organizations: Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association (ABA), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Mr. Benyamin has personally helped his clients recover over $10,000,000 in vehicle accident insurance claims in the State of California.
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