ACL Tears Can Result in a Permanent Loss of Function

Posted on February 10, 2016 by bermanstaff

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.


About Berman & Riedel, LLP firm managing partner attorney William M. Berman:

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Attorney William M. Berman focuses his practice in the areas of catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death and elder abuse and neglect. Strictly a plaintiffs’ dedicated firm, he never represents insurance companies in the defense of claims. Mr. Berman’s firm remains staunchly committed to helping those who have suffered serious injury or loss due the negligence, intentional misconduct or wrongful acts of others. Mr. Berman has grown his firm to what is considered one of the largest and most successful elder abuse/neglect practices within California. Through his continued successes in handling claims involving nursing home and elder abuse and neglect, Mr. Berman remains a prominent figure in advocating on behalf of this vulnerable class of citizens.
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Below are answers to common questions people have about personal injury cases and working with a lawyer. During your initial consultation, we will be happy to answer questions that are particular to your case.

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There is no way to determine the exact value of a personal injury case, especially early in your case. However, an experienced attorney can give you an estimated range based on their experience with similar cases.

There are many factors that may influence the value of your case, such as:

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Some damages are easy to calculate, such as lost wages and medical bills. Calculating the value of diminished earnings for the rest of your life or future medical needs; however, may require the help of experts. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering have no intrinsic financial value. These damages are challenging to calculate. 

If your case goes before a jury, you may potentially be able to recover more than you could through a settlement. However, this introduces a new element of risk: the jury. The circumstances of your accident and even how sympathetic you or the defendant are can influence the outcome.

During your consultation, and throughout your case, we will help you understand how these factors influence your case. We will also work tirelessly to document the value of all your damages and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

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An experienced lawyer will build your case as if it will go to trial from the beginning. The stronger your case and evidence, the more likely a fair settlement will be reached.

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Remember that the insurance company is not on your side, even if the insurance adjuster seems sympathetic and you receive a settlement offer. If you are being blamed for your accident or sustained serious injury, a lawyer will help you protect your rights and build the strongest case possible. This includes calculating the full value of your current and future losses.

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