| Read Time: 6 minutes | Car Accident

Car accidents can be life-altering events, causing a range of immediate injuries. However, what many people don’t realize is that some injuries, particularly those to the knee, can manifest as delayed knee pain. This pain can arise hours or even days after the accident, which makes it challenging to diagnose and potentially hinders treatment.

We at Hutzler Law, a top-rated personal injury law firm in Arizona, understand the financial, physical, and even emotional burden that can arise from delayed knee pain. Our team of Phoenix car accident attorneys has a proven track record of success in advocating for the rights of those injured due to negligence. If you’re experiencing delayed knee pain after car accident, call us today at 602-730-4530. We will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Causes of Delayed Knee Pain Following a Car Accident

The trauma of a car accident can subject the knee to extreme forces and cause severe injuries that might not immediately present symptoms. This is often due to the body’s adrenaline response, which masks discomfort during the initial shock. As the adrenaline wears off, underlying injuries can manifest as delayed knee pain.

A common injury is the “dashboard knee,” where the collision’s force thrusts the knee into the dashboard and leads to potential fractures or severe ligament damage. Other reasons why knee pain might appear long after a car crash has occurred include:

Soft Tissue Injury: Muscles, tendons, and ligaments can all be strained, sprained, or torn during an accident. These injuries can lead to delayed pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Bone Fractures: While fractures are often immediately apparent, hairline fractures might not show symptoms for days or weeks. Left untreated, such injuries risk worsening into complete breaks, culminating in longer healing times and potentially requiring surgery.

Ligament Tears: Trauma from a crash can cause overstretching or tearing of the knee ligaments. The ligaments connecting the bones in the knee can be partially or completely torn, with symptoms manifesting after an initial period of minimal or no pain. The result can be significant instability later in life.

Torn Meniscus: The meniscus is a crescent-shaped piece of cartilage that cushions the knee joint. A tear can occur when the knee is forcefully twisted or compressed in an auto crash, causing the cartilage to rip due to sudden impact or unnatural movement. Tears in the meniscus can bring about delayed pain, swelling, and clicking sounds when bending the knee.

Dislocations: A dislocated knee is a serious injury where the bones are forced out of their normal position. Although dislocations are usually painful right away, sometimes the pain may not be severe initially, leading to a delayed diagnosis.

Signs of Delayed Knee Pain After Car Accident

If you experience any of the following symptoms after a car accident, seek immediate medical attention, even if the pain seems minor:

  • Bruising or discoloration around the knee indicates internal bleeding or damage
  • Inflammation or swelling is a sign of tissue damage or inflammation.
  • Redness and warmth to the touch of the injured knee may be signs of infection, such as cellulitis. It’s caused by bacteria entering the knee joint through an open wound or compromised skin barrier.
  • Popping or clicking sounds in the knee, often indicative of a meniscus tear or ligament injury, may or may not necessarily be accompanied by pain. Nonetheless, seriousness depends on the extent of the underlying damage and its impact on the knee’s function.
  • Weakness or instability presenting in the knee implies damage to its supporting structures. It normally manifests days to weeks after an accident due to inflammation and trauma-induced disruption of ligaments or muscles.
  • A limited range of motion, characterized by difficulty bending or straightening the knee fully. It may suggest potential ligament or meniscus injuries or the presence of inflammation and swelling within the joint, typically resulting from trauma sustained in a car accident.

Early diagnosis of delayed knee pain is essential for optimal healing and preventing long-term complications. It’s especially vital if you experience an inability to bear weight, a feeling of instability, significant loss of motion, noticeable deformity, or a high fever. Delayed symptoms can appear 24 to 48 hours after the accident, emphasizing the importance of early medical evaluation.

How Delayed Knee Pain Is Treated

Treatment for delayed knee pain varies depending on the severity and type of injury. It may involve a combination of both non-surgical and surgical interventions, such as:

Medication: Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs to help manage symptoms

Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation exercises like Hamstring Stretches, Straight Leg Raises, or Wall Squats to restore strength and flexibility in the knee

Noninvasive Procedures: These include hot and cold therapy, Arthrocentesis (removal of excess fluid from the knee), corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation, and orthopedic bracing to provide support.

Surgical Intervention: Severe injuries such as ligament tears or fractures may require surgery to repair damaged structures and restore knee function.

Again, timely and appropriate treatment enables optimal recovery and prevents long-term damage, for instance, stiffness, weakness, instability, and even osteoarthritis.

Proving Fault in Delayed Knee Pain After Car Accident

The most likely at-fault party is the other motorist whose negligence, whether through speeding, distracted driving, running red lights, or any other action, violated traffic laws and resulted in the collision. However, other possibilities exist, such as a malfunctioning vehicle, a poorly maintained road, and defective car parts.

personal injury lawyer can use all the resources available to investigate the cause of the accident and identify the liable party using:

  • Medical records documented by a doctor to establish a timeline of the accident, initial injuries (if any), and the onset of knee pain.
  • Testimony from an expert witness who can analyze the victim’s medical records and accident details to establish a connection between the collision and the knee pain. He or she can also explain how the crash forces could have led to internal injuries that manifested later.
  • Accident reconstruction using evidence from the accident scene, including photos, skid marks, and vehicle damage. It helps demonstrate how the impact occurred and which parts of the body were likely stressed during the collision.
  • Surveillance footage from nearby businesses or traffic cameras that captured the accident.
  • The information can be used to provide an objective view of the events leading to the accident.
  • Witness statements about the car crash and the victim’s condition immediately after. This can help establish if the victim complained of any knee pain initially or if they seemed alright.

Note: a judge may ask for a victim’s account of the accident, which must be consistent and detailed. An attorney must prepare his or her client to provide credible testimony during depositions and in court. This type of evidence gathering enables a personal injury lawyer to build a solid case demonstrating the other driver’s carelessness caused the delayed knee pain.

Seeking Compensation for Delayed Knee Pain Injuries

If you’ve sustained injuries and been accurately diagnosed with delayed knee pain due to a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can sue the at-fault party for your injuries. Compensation may include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover quantifiable financial losses such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages.

These are calculated based on actual bills, receipts, and wage statements, providing a clear monetary value. Conversely, non-economic damages address the intangible losses suffered due to pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. They are subjective and often determined by a jury based on the severity of the injury and its impact on the plaintiff’s life.

This dual approach ensures victims are fully compensated for both the financial and personal impacts of their injuries. A Phoenix car accident lawyer at Hutzler Law can help you handle the complexities of a personal injury claim. They are adept at dealing with insurance companies to secure fair compensation for car accident victims. 

Car accident attorneys know the tactics insurers employ to minimize payouts, such as downplaying the severity of injuries or disputing the necessity of certain medical treatments. They can counter these strategies by presenting exhaustive medical documentation and expert testimony to substantiate the injury claims.

If the insurance company fails to offer fair compensation, your legal representative can help you file a lawsuit. In Arizona, you must lodge a claim two years from the accident date to give yourself a fighting chance. Working with a skilled lawyer can greatly increase your chances of securing a fair settlement. They will negotiate aggressively to ensure the settlement reflects the true extent of the damages suffered.

How a Car Accident Attorney at Hutzler Law Can Help

The Hutzler Law team specializes in helping victims of car accidents secure the compensation they deserve. We pride ourselves on our personalized approach and commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Our dedicated car accident lawyers will guide you through every step of the legal process, from gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies and representing you in court if necessary. Get in touch with us today for a free case review. Call 602-730-4530 or fill out our Online Contact Form so we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

Author Photo

Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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