A torn meniscus typically feels like something inside your knee “pops.” After the initial injury, those with a torn meniscus typically experience swelling, stiffness, and pain in the knee. Another common torn meniscus symptom is the sensation of the knee “giving out,” meaning you can’t apply weight to it.
If you’re experiencing knee pain after a car accident and think you may have torn your meniscus, you should seek immediate medical attention. A doctor can tell you if you’ve suffered from a torn meniscus or another similar injury. Seeing a doctor is the best way to document your injuries after a car accident, too.
Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus
These are a few common signs of a torn meniscus:
- You experienced a “pop” in your knee
- Your knee is swollen or stiff
- You can’t bend your knee normally or put weight on it
- Your knee feels locked in place
- You experience pain if you twist or rotate your knee
These torn meniscus symptoms may take 24 hours or more to appear. Just because your knee feels fine immediately after an accident doesn’t mean you’re not injured.
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Can You Tear Your Meniscus in a Car Accident?
Most musculoskeletal injuries are possible in a car accident, including muscle tears, broken bones, and injured ligaments. While a torn meniscus isn’t the most common type of car accident injury, it is certainly possible.
According to research published in StatPearls, some of the most common car accident injuries include neck, head, chest, and abdominal injuries, such as:
- Fractured ribs
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Skull fractures
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t injure your knees in a car accident. Alongside a meniscus tear, you could suffer these knee injuries in a car accident:
- Torn MCL
- Torn ACL
- Knee bursitis
If you’re experiencing knee pain after your car accident, see a doctor. They may evaluate your knee injury using the following methods:
- Arthroscopy: This procedure involves inserting a tiny camera into the knee via a small incision. The camera will allow doctors to view the inside of your knee to evaluate your injuries. In some cases, they can insert small surgical tools alongside the camera to repair a tear.
- X-ray: X-rays allow doctors to view your internal bone structure. This imaging can notify doctors if you have a broken kneecap or leg. Unlike arthroscopy, x-rays aren’t effective at diagnosing cartilage tears.
- MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields to view the internal structure of the knee. This method is highly effective in diagnosing soft tissue knee injuries, like a torn meniscus.
Will I Need to Get Surgery if I Tore My Meniscus?
Luckily, conservative treatment can often abate torn meniscus symptoms if the tear is on the outside of the meniscus. Before recommending surgery, a doctor may ask that you:
- Ice the area of injury
- Use crutches to keep your weight off the knee as much as possible
- Wrap the knee with a compression bandage and elevate your leg
- Use medication, like pain-killers, to reduce pain
- Participate in physical therapy
Per Cleveland Clinic, these methods may allow a meniscus tear to heal on its own. However, in more severe cases, you may need to undergo surgery.
Will My Health Insurance Cover Torn Meniscus Treatment?
If you tore your meniscus in a car accident, your health insurance plan could cover your treatment. However, if you require invasive surgery, health insurance may not be enough.
In this case, you could consider filing a car accident claim or lawsuit. These approaches could net you additional damages, including:
- Medical expenses, like surgery
- Ongoing care costs, like physical therapy or medication
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Property damage
How Do I Pursue Car Accident Damages?
If you hope to secure compensation beyond your insurance plan, you must prove that another party caused your car accident. This process involves showing that:
- Whoever caused your car accident owed you a duty of care
- They didn’t uphold this by behaving negligently
- Their negligent behavior caused your accident
- You suffered damages, like a torn meniscus, as a result
A car accident lawyer can assist you with this process. To do so, they can review the evidence associated with your case, including:
- Traffic camera footage of the accident
- Images from the accident scene
- Eyewitness testimony
- Police reports
- Your medical records
Car Accident Settlements Are Time-Sensitive
You don’t have unlimited time to file a car accident lawsuit. The Louisiana personal injury statute of limitations is typically one year, per CC Art. 3492. This deadline may be longer or shorter, depending on the context of your case.
You should adhere to this deadline, even if you don’t plan on filing a lawsuit. The sooner you get started, the better because:
- Your car accident lawyer needs as much time as possible to gather evidence.
- Acting quickly notifies insurers and the liable party that you’re serious about pursuing compensation.
- It’s much easier to get accurate witness testimony soon after the accident.
Seek Help From a Car Accident Lawyer Today
A torn meniscus can result in expensive treatment. Our car accident lawyers at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers are here to help. We believe you shouldn’t have to pay for your own medical treatment if someone else caused your car accident. We can evaluate your case free of charge. Contact us to get started today.