Knee Injury

A knee injury can affect everything you do. You might experience pain while standing and walking. Stiffness and weakness may limit your mobility. The discomfort might even keep you awake at night.

You can suffer a knee injury in numerous ways in Louisiana. For residents of the Pelican State, it’s important to understand more about these injuries and what you can do if you sustain one.

What Are Some Common Causes of Knee Injuries?

Knee injuries happen when you damage the structures of the knee joint. These injuries typically happen due to the following types of trauma:

Penetrating Trauma

Penetrating trauma happens when a foreign object pierces the knee. For instance, suppose that you suffer a penetrating injury in a workplace accident when you fall on a sharp tool with your knee. In addition to damaging the tissues inside the knee, the foreign object could cause bleeding. The open wound could become infected if microorganisms enter the body.

Blunt Force Trauma

Blunt force trauma happens when you bang your knee without causing an open wound. The impact can break bones or tear soft tissues in the joint. For example, a car accident can cause blunt trauma when you get hit in a side-impact crash that collapses your door and crushes your knee.


You hyperextend your knee when it bends too far or in the wrong direction. Hyperextension stretches or tears the soft tissues holding the joint together. Common causes of these injuries include slips, trips, and falls.

For example, during a slip and fall accident, your feet may lose traction and slide forward. As you try to catch yourself, your knee might bend sideways or even backward, hyperextending it.


When you use your body, tissues develop microscopic cracks and tears. Rest allows your body to heal. But if you repeat the use without resting, the damage accumulates. Overuse injuries commonly happen to people with jobs that require daily use of their knees for long periods. Walking, carrying, and lifting can make workers vulnerable to these injuries.

What Are Common Knee Injuries?

Your knee forms the joint between your thigh bone and calf bones. The following four ligaments hold these bones together:

  • The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects the middle of the femur to the front of the tibia
  • The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) connects the middle of the femur to the back of the tibia
  • The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) connects the outside of the femur to the fibula
  • The medial collateral ligament (MCL) connects the inside of the femur to the tibia

The patella protects the knee joint by sitting over it. It is held in place by a tendon from the thigh muscle and the patellar ligament, which anchors it to the tibia.

The surfaces of the femur and tibia are covered with cartilage called the articular cartilage and the meniscus. This tough tissue is made from collagen. It cushions the knee when you walk, run, and jump. It also provides a smooth surface so the bones can move without grinding.

Some common injuries to these structures include the following:

Sprained Knee

Sprains occur when you hyperextend the knee ligaments. A mild sprain might happen when the ligaments stretch without tearing. The resulting damage can cause the following symptoms:

  • Knee pain and instability
  • Inflammation
  • Limited range of motion

A mild sprain will often heal in four to six weeks with rest and anti-inflammatory medication. You may also need physical therapy to help strengthen the leg muscles to better support the injured joint.

Severe sprains happen when you tear through the full thickness of the ligament. These injuries will require reconstructive surgery and months of rehabilitation. If you follow sports, a torn ACL is a full-thickness tear.

Torn Cartilage

Trauma to the knee can tear the cartilage in the joint. Cartilage tears can cause the following symptoms:

  • Knee pain
  • Stiffness
  • Inflammation
  • Hitching or clicking

If your knee contains loose or floating pieces of cartilage, your doctor may operate on it to remove them. Cartilage heals very slowly, so you may require months of rest or light duty before your knee heals. Even after the pain and inflammation go away, your knee could develop osteoarthritis due to the cartilage damage.

Fractured Patella

A fractured patella can result from a blunt impact on your knee. For simple fractures, doctors may rebuild the patella using plates and screws. If your patella shatters into three or more pieces, the doctor might remove the patella.

How Do I Recover From a Knee Injury?

Knee surgery can repair much of the damage caused by knee injuries. In some cases, surgery and physical therapy can restore function in the knee with little or no pain. Occasionally, you may face symptoms and complications after treatment, such as arthritis and a limited range of movement.

In any case, recovering from a knee injury can require significant, long-term medical expenses.

Can I Get Injury Compensation for My Knee Injury?

You have a couple of options for injury compensation after a knee injury. First, you can pursue a workers’ compensation claim for knee injuries suffered while working. To win a workers’ compensation claim, you must prove the knee injury happened during the course and scope of your job duties.

For example, you cannot get workers’ comp if you injure your knee during your lunch break in a slip and fall accident at a fast food restaurant. But you could probably get workers’ comp if you slip in the bathroom at work.

Workers’ compensation benefits in Louisiana cover all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. You also receive two-thirds of your average wage up to a statutory cap. You only receive disability benefits if you miss at least a week.

You can also pursue injury compensation whenever someone’s negligent or intentional actions injure you. To win a claim for intentional harm, your lawyer must prove the other party intended to make harmful contact with you. Thus, an elderly relative might have a nursing home abuse claim if a staff member physically assaulted them and caused a knee injury in the process.

Most injury claims arise from negligence, which essentially means “carelessness.” Your lawyer must prove the other party failed to fulfill a duty of care owed to you. For instance, drivers owe a legal duty to drive with reasonable care and caution. When they break traffic laws or do something unreasonably dangerous, they are liable for any resulting injuries.

The advantage of injury claims over workers’ comp claims is that you can pursue your full income losses rather than being limited to the two-thirds rate and statutory caps. You can also seek compensation for pain and suffering in an injury case but not a workers’ comp case.

The Role of a Lafayette Personal Injury Lawyer

An experienced Lafayette personal injury lawyer can review the facts surrounding your knee injury and outline your legal options for compensation. Your lawyer can then advocate for that compensation on your behalf.

The award-winning team at Kenny Habetz Injury Law has recovered millions of dollars for injury clients in Lafayette and the surrounding communities. Contact us for a free consultation today.