Page Updated: August 7, 2021


Torn Meniscus Settlement


A torn meniscus can mean a lifetime of pain and suffering that goes well beyond just the initial recovery period

When you settle for a torn meniscus injury it is therefore important to make sure your future suffering is calculated into your settlement, something that you will face a challenge with as most insurance companies do not like to give fair offers on your future suffering.

In this article you will find information on:

♦  What a torn meniscus is

♦   Treatment and recovery outlooks

♦   Whether you should accept your torn meniscus settlement offer

   Average torn meniscus settlement values

Scroll down to learn more about maximizing your torn meniscus settlement value


Meniscus Tears


What is the meniscus? This is a small piece of cartilage that is found on your knee. While it may seem like an almost insignificant and small part of your larger knee, it is actually very important for basic daily knee functions.

The meniscus is needed to stand, walk and to generally use your knee in a healthy manner.

There are many different kinds of meniscus tears with some of the more common ones being:

meniscus settlement diagrams

♦   Flap Tear

♦   Radial Tear

♦   Degenerative Tear

   Horizontal Cleavage Tear

No matter the kind of tear you have suffered, there will be considerable downtime as well as medical treatment needed to address recovery.

The meniscus acts as a cushion between the large thighbone and the shin bone.

When this meniscus is damaged, this means that every ounce of pressure on your leg can cause excruciating pain.

Without the meniscus in-tact and healthy, each movement of the leg causes these major leg bones to put pressure on each other with no shock absorption.

The meniscus tear also means the potential for lifelong injury and pain because recovery may never be complete and in certain cases, surgery will mean partial removal of a meniscus.

This itself has been linked to future arthritis pain.  Recovery therefore can be a long process that starts with the initial symptoms of a tear which are most commonly:

♦   Stiffness

♦   Pain

♦   Swelling

♦   Popping Sensation

Meniscus tear settlements need to take these symptoms as well as recovery outlooks into consideration for your settlement value.


Meniscus Tear Recovery


The recovery process for your torn meniscus starts with a diagnosis. This itself will come with a visit to an ER, or to a doctors office to have the affected leg checked out.

To diagnose you, a medical professional will conduct both physical exams and also scans of the leg. The most common scans and physical tests for a torn meniscus are:

♦   X-Rays

♦   MRI Scans

♦  Arthroscope Test

♦   McMurray Test

♦   Pivot Shift Exam

♦  Apley Test

♦   Thessaly Exam

Once it has been determined that you have a torn meniscus, the key is to understand fully how bad the tear is and what kind of tear you have.

The most common treatments for smaller injuries are to have bed rest, use ice to calm the knee, take over the counter anti-inflammatory medications. In less serious cases, rehabilitative treatment may also be used in conjunction with these treatments. This helps to strengthen the muscles around the knee to create more support for the knee overall.

In more serious cases, surgery will be needed for a torn meniscus but there is no one-size fits all surgery for a torn meniscus. Three major kinds of surgery exist for a torn meniscus:

♦  Meniscus Removal (Meniscectomy): The damaged meniscus is removed and can give faster relief but long-term negative results like later developing arthritis

♦  Meniscus Replacement: This is usually used for younger patients who have already had some of their meniscus removed. The surgery implants new meniscus into the area to stop the pain caused by the meniscectomy

♦  Arthroscopic Meniscus Repair: Meniscus repair is a surgery that goes in and attempts to fix the tears that have been caused to the meniscus.

Recovery times for your injury will depend on how severe the tear was, whether or not surgery was needed, which surgical treatment option was taken, any other surgeries and damage that may have been treated at the same time, your age and preexisting health concerns.

Depending on all of this, a torn meniscus can mean anywhere from 1 month to 6 months of recovery time which requires a considerable amount of time off the leg as well as rehabilitation to allow for the knee to get stronger


Meniscus Tears From A Car Accident


Meniscus tears from a car accident are very common because during most accidents there are sharp movements of the body which cause damage.

When the knee moves in a jerk motion without warning and in an unnatural manner, this causes the potential for a meniscus tear. Therefore, you can tear your meniscus in a car accident and it happens more frequently than many would expect. The injury is not always obvious which means that it is possible to have a meniscus tear from even a minor accident.

Sadly, a torn meniscus car accident settlement can be affected by this because you may not have gotten treatment right away because you did not even know that you had an injury.

Meniscus tear car accident settlements can often be an uphill battle exactly because of this reason which necessitates strong counsel to argue your case.


Is A Torn Meniscus A Permanent Injury?


It is possible that your torn meniscus injury can become permanent in many ways. The recovery outlook for a badly torn meniscus is not very positive because surgery itself can lead to complications. This means that over time, you may find that additional health problems arise, such as arthritis and the need for further surgery.

Additionally, as with any surgery, there is the risk for complications, slow recovery, and long-term problems.

This is particularly true when during surgery it is found that the tear is worse than thought, and rather than repairing the meniscus, part of it must wholly be removed.

The more serious the surgery, the higher the chances for bleeding, inflammation, and nerve or blood vessel injury are.

Unfortunately, many transplant surgeries fail which means that further surgeries are needed down the road. A fair torn meniscus settlement must take this into account from the start so that you receive a torn meniscus settlement value that helps you recover for your pain an suffering.


Should I Accept My Torn Meniscus Settlement Offer?


As noted before, a meniscus tear from a car accident may not be immediately evident after your accident. Torn meniscus car accident settlements, like most settlements often rely on you getting swift treatment for your injury. However, as it is common to not know you have a meniscus tear right away, you may have a delay in getting treatment.

Your meniscus tear car accident settlement can be negatively affected by this delay in treatment as the insurance companies will argue that if your injury was serious, you would have gotten treatment sooner.

Using this line of argument, many insurance companies will offer you a low settlement value and tell you it is the best you can get to pressure you to settle for a low offer.

It is not advisable to accept these initial low offers and instead it is in your best interest to get support and assistance in maximizing your settlement value.

Do not be intimidated by insurance companies telling you that you cannot get higher pain and suffering settlement because you waited to get treatment and do not believe that just because your tear is small or you waited for treatment that you cannot expect a higher settlement in your case.

If you are wondering if a torn meniscus is a permanent injury and whether this can affect your final settlement amount read below to learn more about average settlements for this injury.


Average Torn Meniscus Settlement Values


The average settlement value for any accident or injury tends to be higher the more damage and permanency there is in your injury. This means that if you have to have surgery, or if you are taken off your feet for a long time, there is a higher chance that you will get a larger settlement.

Most torn meniscus cases that are not the worst type of tear and can recover on their own can get an average settlement value that is under $10,000. On the higher end, those injuries that require surgery and have the potential for future surgery, can go as high as $150,000 on average, particularly if there was damage to additional parts of the knee.

Average settlements therefore can vary a great deal and will be affected by many different variables including your age, your injury level and the treatment that you end up needing.


Increasing Your Torn Meniscus Settlement


Want to increase your torn meniscus settlement offer? Some things are out of your control and other variables you can control to increase your settlement value.

Variables that can help you increase your value that you can control are:

♦   Seek medical assistance as soon as possible after your accident

♦   Document and track all changes in your mobility and health after you have been injured

♦   Take photos of any visible swelling or symptoms

Other variables that can help your case include whether or not you needed surgery for your tear, if you required a partial or whole removal of the meniscus and whether or not you had other injuries to the knee and leg that made treatment and recovery for your treatment harder.

Some variables can hurt you including waiting to get medical treatment, prior damage and surgery to your knees and advanced age.


Sample Verdicts & Settlements


SAMPLE VERDICT (Michigan): $15,195.  A 17 year old male passenger in a vehicle was struck by another car which was going through a stop sign without coming to a full stop. The impact was severe and caused the plaintiff to suffer a lateral meniscus tear which required surgery. The defendant claimed that liability was not his fault and that because of his insurance policy he should not be liable to pay. A jury awarded $12,195 for allowable expenses and another $3,000 for interest on overdue No-Fault Insurance benefits.

SAMPLE VERDICT (Missouri): $18,500.  A 65-year old male hit a vehicle after he lost control of his car because it was collided with by a third vehicle that had changed lanes in an unsafe manner. The vehicle that swerved out of his own lane unsafely slammed into the plaintiff’s car, forcing him into another car. This led to a torn meniscus and a knee contusion but the defendant denied liability and stated that the plaintiff lost control of his car for an unrelated reason. The jury found that the liability was shared and therefore the settlement was reduced to $18,500.

SAMPLE VERDICT (Minnesota): $280,000.  An adult female was rear ended on a public roadway with enough impact to cause multiple injuries, including a lateral meniscus injury to her left knee. Plaintiff asked for full coverage of her medical expenses as well as lost wages. Defendant stated that the claims were not valid and attempted to dispute the amounts. A jury awarded in addition to the $91,000 settlement, a verdict giving the additional amounts for lost wages and medical expenses.

SAMPLE VERDICT (Nevada): $19,980.  A 50 year old female driver was hit by a driver who had swerved out of their lane and collided with her vehicle. The impact of the injury was strong enough that it caused the plaintiff to require traumatic left-knee meniscus tears which needed arthroscopic surgery and the need for additional future surgery as well. The plaintiff had asked for additional settlement amounts claiming that her injury was permanent, but the jury found that the collision did not cause a permanent injury that lasted at least 60 days and awarded nothing extra.

SAMPLE VERDICT (New Jersey): $115,000.  An adult female driver suffered a torn meniscus that required surgery as she was driving southbound on a public road. Her car was cut off by another vehicle which caused her to lose control and strike into a tree. The plaintiff denied liability and stated the accident was the fault of an unidentified third party. The jury rejected this and passed a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

SAMPLE SETTLEMENT  (New York): $25,000.  Plaintiff was sitting in a parked vehicle in a legal and safe spot when his car was hit by another vehicle on the right rear side. The injury caused the plaintiff to suffer knee pain that was later found to be caused by a torn meniscus. Plaintiff lost wages as he was forced to go under surgery and also have a year of physical therapy. The two sides ultimately settled for $25,000.


Torn Meniscus Settlement Q&A


Can you tear your meniscus in a car accident?

Yes, you can tear your meniscus in a car accident and it is a common injury that takes place because the knee often bends in a jerk-like motion which causes damage to cartilage, tendons and bones.

Is a torn meniscus a permanent injury?

A torn meniscus can be a permanent injury in severe cases. While this is not always the case, many who require surgery will find that they will need future surgery and medical treatment as the meniscus is not able to go back to normal or may even have to be removed.

How much compensation do you get for a torn meniscus?

The compensation that you can get for a torn meniscus can vary anywhere from as low as $10,000-$15,000 to as high as $115,000-$150,000 on average depending on the treatment needed and the severity of the initial injury.

Is the average Settlement for a torn meniscus in my state different?

The average settlement for a torn meniscus may be different in your state but it is more likely that it will match national averages. The bigger variable will not be your state, but the extent of your injury  and the level of treatment that you end up needing.

Are there different kinds of meniscus tears?

Yes, there are different kinds of meniscus tears. There are some that small and not serious and others that are large tears in abnormal shapes that make recovery and treatment much harder.

Is it normal to not know you have a meniscus tear injury?

Yes, it is normal to now know that you have a meniscus tear injury as the injury does not always cause immediate pain or discomfort to all individuals.

What is the average settlement for a torn meniscus in California?

The average amounts for a torn meniscus in California are very similar to the ones that you see in almost all other states. In California, a torn meniscus case can range from as low as $10,000 to as high as half a million dollars or more.


Get Help With Your Torn Meniscus Settlement


If you have a torn meniscus injury, you should get both medical help and legal assistance as soon as possible. You can callemail, or message us using the contact form below for a free consultation at anytime.

The IAG team is here to help you navigate what can be a complex, stressful and difficult process 24/7.


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Hegedus, E. J., Cook, C., Hasselblad, V., Goode, A., & Mccrory, D. C. (2007). Physical examination tests for assessing a torn meniscus in the knee: a systematic review with meta-analysisjournal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy37(9), 541-550.

Meister, K., Indelicato, P. A., Spanier, S., Franklin, J., & Batts, J. (2004). Histology of the Torn Meniscus: A Comparison of Histologic Differences in Meniscal Tissue between Tears in Anterior Cruciate LigamentIntact and Anterior Cruciate LigamentDeficient Knees. The American journal of sports medicine32(6), 1479-1483.

Solomon, D. H., Simel, D. L., Bates, D. W., Katz, J. N., & Schaffer, J. L. (2001). Does this patient have a torn meniscus or ligament of the knee?: value of the physical examinationJama286(13), 1610-1620.

Ahn, J. H., Choi, S. H., Lee, Y. S., Yoo, J. C., Chang, M. J., Bae, S., & Bae, Y. R. (2011). Symptomatic torn discoid lateral meniscus in adults. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy19(2), 158-164.

Adachi, N., Ochi, M., Uchio, Y., Kuriwaka, M., & Shinomiya, R. (2004). Torn discoid lateral meniscus treated using partial central meniscectomy and suture of the peripheral tearArthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery20(5), 536-542.

Hwang, Y. G., & Kwoh, C. K. (2014). The METEOR trial: no rush to repair a torn meniscusCleveland Clinic journal of medicine81(4), 226-232.

Kim, Y. M., Rhee, K. J., Lee, J. K., Hwang, D. S., Yang, J. Y., & Kim, S. J. (2006). Arthroscopic pullout repair of a complete radial tear of the tibial attachment site of the medial meniscus posterior horn. Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery22(7), 795-e1.

Fabricant, P. D., Rosenberger, P. H., Jokl, P., & Ickovics, J. R. (2008). Predictors of short-term recovery differ from those of long-term outcome after arthroscopic partial meniscectomyArthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery24(7), 769-778.

Rosenberger, P. H., Dhabhar, F. S., Epel, E., Jokl, P., & Ickovics, J. R. (2010). Sex differences in factors influencing recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®468(12), 3399-3405.

About the Author

Article Author:  This law article was written by attorney Ramin 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 ten 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 helped his clients recover millions of in car accident claims in the State of California.

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