Seeking Compensation for a Knee Injury
As an experienced Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer, I have represented many clients suffering from knee injuries and have ensured that they received proper compensation. Like any injury that impacts mobility, knee injuries can have a far-reaching effect on a person’s regular activities of living, including their occupation, daily tasks, and recreational activities.
How Do Knee Injuries Typically Happen?
The knee is a part of the anatomy that can be easily injured through an impact or sudden twisting motion.
The two most common accidents where the knee is injured are:
Knees are often injured in MVAs – for example, by the knee striking the dashboard during the collision.
Motor vehicle accidents can include vehicle collisions with other vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians.
Slip, trip, and fall accidents can cause the knee to twist unnaturally, tearing the meniscus, tendons, or ligaments.
The owner of the property – commercial or residential – where the incident occurred is responsible for your safety. Known as an “Occupiers’ Liability” case, victims can seek compensation if the property has not been properly maintained.
How Severe Are Knee Injuries?
There are a wide variety of ways that the knee can be injured, ranging in severity.
Knee injuries my clients commonly have include:
- Meniscus tears
- Ligament tears
- Patella instability
- Tendon injuries
- Chondral injuries
Knee injuries can require surgery, particularly if you have a pre-existing knee problem or injury that was exacerbated by the accident or if you are over 65.
If you think your knee injury is serious, you should ask your physician for an ultrasound. While an X-ray will show fractures, an ultrasound reveals any ligament or tendon issues. If the problem continues, you may even need a CT scan or MRI.
Unfortunately, knee injuries are so common that medical practitioners may overlook the severity of your particular case. Do not be afraid to ask for more in-depth tests if you are in a lot of pain or are having trouble with your activities of daily living.
Seeking Compensation for Knee Injuries
The knee is essential for your mobility; therefore, it has a great impact on your ability to carry out your regular activities, such as the duties of your employment, your recreational activities, caring for your children, your personal care tasks, your housekeeping activities, and so on.
The most important factor in receiving proper compensation for your injury is your ability to demonstrate and explain the impact the injury has had on your life.
Your first job is to accurately explain your pain to your doctors. They cannot create reports to support your case unless you are thorough and clear when you explain your injury to them. I recommend the PQRST method to effectively describe your pain (click here to learn how to use the PQRST method).
I have found that many knee injury cases are complicated by pre-existing knee conditions and complaints, as insurance companies will be quick to suggest the injury was not caused by the accident. If you have told your doctor of any knee pain in the past, insurance companies may claim that it is this old injury that resulted in the accident and they will deny compensation.
For this reason, it’s not only important for you to use the PQRST method when describing your injury to your medical practitioners, but also to explain the accident in enough detail to show causation.
- Did you hear your knee pop, crack, or snap in the incident? How many times?
- Did you feel your knee lock at all?
- Did your knee strike the dashboard or the ground?
- Could you feel your knee twist as you fell?
- Was there immediate pain?
- How much worse is your pain now when compared with any previous complaints you may have made?
To achieve a fair settlement, you must make it absolutely clear to both the doctors and the insurance company that your knee injury was a direct result of the accident.
Once you have established firm causation, it’s time to focus on how the injury has affected your daily life. Here, we deal with determining what your injury prevents you from being able to do.
A knee injury can have a devastating effect on many areas of your life, including:
A knee injury can prevent you from returning to work, particularly if your job requires physical labour, such as heavy lifting or repetitive bending. In this case, you may never be able to return to the work you had done before the injury.
Even if you have a sedentary job, the pain and/or medication can disrupt your ability to work through loss of concentration, difficulty thinking, or grogginess.
General damages tend to have a higher award if your knee injury significantly impacts your ability to do your job.
- Daily Tasks (Personal Care/Housekeeping/Caregiving)
A serious knee injury can prevent you from doing many or most of the activities of daily living. Even for the activities that you can do, you may find that you cannot do things as efficiently, you have to modify your activities, or you require assistance.
These activities of daily living may include cleaning, bathing, dressing yourself, driving, caring for children, cooking, household chores, and more. You may have to rely on your spouse, child, friend or co-worker to support you for a period of time while you recover.
- Recreational Activities
If you enjoyed certain sports or activities before your injury, such as hiking, cycling, dancing, basketball, or jogging, your knee injury may make it impossible for you to engage in those hobbies for a time, or in some cases, forever.
I always recommend my clients work with an Occupational Therapist (OT) when recovering from injury.
An OT will:
- Create a detailed, comprehensive assessment of your life before your accident and after
- Adjust and modify your current environment(s) to accommodate your injury
- Assess the safety of your environment
- Work with you toward recovery
As a personal injury lawyer, I find the input of the OT invaluable for quantifying your claims. I use their comprehensive medical assessment to demonstrate the difficulties you are facing due to your injury and precisely convey the damages you have sustained.
A lawyer who takes the time to fully understand your life and responsibilities before and after your accident will ensure you do not under-settle your case. Clearly demonstrating the extent of the injury and quantifying every bit of damage will ensure a fair settlement and will ease your financial burden during your recovery.
If you have sustained a knee injury or other personal injury at another party’s fault, please do not hesitate to contact me and my team of experienced personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.
More on Personal Injury from Roger R. Foisy:
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- Seeking Compensation for an Ankle Injury
- Compensating for the Emotional and Psychological Impact of Scar, Burn, and/or Disfigurement Injuries
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- Roger R. Foisy Invited as Panelist on OTLA Long-Term Disability Roundtable - February 24, 2022
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