Because of the key role that they play in keeping our bodies limber and agile, joints are often one of the most impacted body parts when a vehicle accident occurs. Knees and other joints often collide violently with unforgiving parts of your car, such as the dashboard, or they are turned and twisted in unnatural ways as a result of two vehicles slamming into each other. In other cases, wrists and elbows are locked in an instinctive attempt to reduce the impact of the crash on your body.
These joint injuries might not seem serious at all—at first. You might be tempted to think that you can “walk it off” and that it will “loosen up with time,” only to discover that the joint pain is increasing with time, not decreasing. If you think that you have suffered knee or joint pain after a vehicle accident, contact a competent car accident lawyer as soon as possible to begin to plan how to receive compensation for what might be long-term medical costs.
The very parts of your body that are most vulnerable to injury in a vehicle collision—your joints—are some of the most complex parts of your body as well. That’s great news when they work properly; it’s not-so-good news when they are injured, because it can be a quite painful and lengthy road to get them back to normal, or near-normal.
It can take months and years to get your shoulder back to a full range of motion, for instance, in that tender area where muscle meets bone. Torn ligaments and tendons can make walking, bending, lifting, turning and other seemingly simple movements into feats of endurance and pain tolerance.
In addition, if you had a pre-existing condition before your accident, there is a great chance that your collision could have aggravated it. This is a particularly relevant instance where you need a good car accident lawyer to argue for you. A worsened pre-existing condition is still eligible for compensation, no matter what an insurance company tells you.
Here are a few of the types of knee and joint injuries that you should keep an eye out for after a car accident, no matter how good you feel in the first hours after the collision, when your adrenaline can mask many of these injuries:
- Fractures of important bones, such as kneecaps, ankles, elbows or wrists
- Sprains of the neck and shoulders
- Dislocations of shoulders, hips and vertebrae
- Swelling due to internal bleeding around a distressed joint
- Tear of the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament in the knee, sometimes requiring surgery
- Nerve damage due to hip dislocation that can reduce feeling in the lower leg and feet
As you can imagine, the diagnosis and treatment of many of these injuries can be extremely expensive. MRIs and ultrasounds for shoulder injuries, for instance, run into five figures very quickly. Rehabilitation for knee injuries can take months, especially after expensive surgeries.
In addition, if you think that you will be back to work in a few days after one of the injuries listed above, think again. You are going to need a settlement that provides compensation not only for your medical expenses, but also for lost wages. Depending on how physical your work is, you could miss up to a year or more as you recover from your knee and joint injuries.
An experienced car accident lawyer will know what your future holds and how deeply impacted your life, work and finances will be. S/he will then establish a realistic figure for which to aim as s/he builds a case. This amount is often far, far higher than you anticipate. Lawyers with experience in knee and joint injury cases know that rehab sessions and continued exams and surgeries can bring the total time lost to many months, and hospital and doctor bills can balloon into hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost.
In any case, do not accept the often inadequate compensation that an insurance company might offer you. These for-profit monoliths have little incentive to make sure that all of your future medical bills and lost wages will be covered. They want to get in and out of your case for as cheaply as possible, and they are not taking a long-term perspective. That is why you need a skilled car accident attorney on your side.
With an expert car accident lawyer on your team, you can focus on what is most important: regaining your health as fully as possible. You might not ever be the same, or surgery could make you better than ever. Whatever your prognosis, leave the financial details to your car accident attorney so that you can zero in on your rehabilitation and ongoing treatment, because no price can be put on your health.