Florida PCL Tear Car Accident Injuries

May 16, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Florida PCL Tear Car Accident Injuries

Car Accident Caused PCL Tears and the Damage They Inflict

Knee injuries are common in car accidents because they are a joint that structurally bears a significant portion of the force delivered by the impact of a car collision. One of the most common knee injuries suffered in a car accident is a posterior cruciate ligament tear or PCL tear for short, which is a tear in the ligament at the back of the knee. A PCL tear occurs when a bent knee receives immense pressure, such as from a dashboard or heavy object during a car accident. A PCL tear could potentially have a long recovery time, with surgery and physical therapy needed to restore the victim's mobility. A lawyer can help you file a car accident claim to work toward receiving compensation while you recover from your PCL tear. 

What is a Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Tear?

The posterior cruciate ligament is one of the three ligaments supporting the knee, along with the medial collateral ligament and the anterior cruciate ligament. The PCL runs along the back of the knee and connects the thigh bone to the lower leg. It keeps the bones of the knee in place and facilitates leg movement. A PCL tear occurs when intense trauma impacts the knee. The knee is most in danger of suffering a PCL injury when bent. PCL tears are generally coupled with knee dislocations and can cause damage to the other ligaments, cartilage, bones, nerves, and blood vessels.

What are the Types of PCL Tears?

There are four types of PCL tears, with each designating the severity of the tear. Here are the four types of PCL tears:
  • Grade 1 PCL Tear: This type of PCL tear means there was only a partial tear in the ligament, which nonsurgical treatments can heal.
  • Grade 2 PCL Tear: This type of PCL tear is similar to a grade one tear, with the major difference being that the ligament feels loose. 
  • Grade 3 PCL Tear: A PCL tear classifies as a grade three tear when the ligament is completely torn. This tear can lead to the knee becoming unstable.
  • Grade 4 PCL Tear: The most severe PCL Tear, a grade four tear, occurs when the posterior cruciate ligament tears completely, and there is damage done to one of the other two ligaments in the knee.

Symptoms of a PCL Tear

The following are some of the symptoms that can indicate you suffered a PCL tear in your recent car accident:
  • Intense knee pain
  • Difficulty walking
  • Instability in the knee
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Inflammation in the knee

Suffering a PCL Tear in a Car Accident

A PCL tear can happen in a car accident when the driver's bent knee receives immense pressure from a heavy object. Otherwise known as “dashboard knee,” a PCL tear commonly occurs when the impact of a car crash forces the knee hit the dashboard.  Multiple types of crashes can cause the knee to slam into the dashboard, but a rear-end collision is one of the most prominent. The impact from the back can propel the victim's body forward, with very little they can do to avoid impact with the dashboard. A PCL tear can also occur from a direct blow from another car, such as in a sideswipe collision.

Diagnosis of a PCL Tear After a Car Accident

Following a car accident, you should head to the hospital to have your knee checked if you feel any pain in the area. Although a PCL tear is not always immediately apparent, it's vital to have the injury diagnosed early to prevent the injury from worsening over time. Your doctor will do a physical examination by bending your knee and pushing the knee against the upper shin to check for abnormal movement. They will also straighten the leg to see if the knee droops backward unnaturally and use an arthrometer to check the thickness of the ligament. If the doctor identifies a PCL tear with a physical examination, they will use diagnostic imaging to determine the tear's location and severity. An X-ray or MRI scan can determine the extent of the damage so the doctor can suggest the best path forward for your medical treatment.

How Can a PCL Tear Affect a Car Accident Victim's Daily Life?

A severe PCL tear can cause the victim to suffer reduced mobility, instability in the knee, and pain when bending the knee. A PCL tear can restrict the victim's ability to complete a hard labor job, as they could potentially need crutches to move around. A sedentary job can also be challenging to complete with the pain caused by bending the knee.  In the weeks and months following a PCL tear, most doctors suggest the R.I.C.E. method of healing. This method calls for rest, ice, compression, and elevation for the ligament to heal from the tear. The victim may not be able to leave the house and could require assistance from a family member or nurse. This pain and loss of mobility can affect every aspect of your life. Travel plans and other events you intended to participate in may have to be canceled due to your injury. Relationships can suffer as can your mental health when you are faced with damage caused by an injury like this. 

Recovering Damages by Filing a Car Accident Claim

A car accident lawyer can help you through the process of filing a car accident claim while you recover from your injuries. They will handle the legal proceedings to ensure an insurance company doesn't limit your possible compensation by using bad faith tactics. They can also prolong the settlement negotiation until after you have recovered from your injuries to ensure your settlement accounts for the total cost of your treatment.

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Prove the Other Party's Fault

A lawyer can also assist you in proving the at-fault party's liability. Your lawyer will have to establish a connection between the at-fault party's negligent driving and the accident for you to receive compensation for your damages. Some of the evidence your lawyer can present to prove the at-fault party's negligence can include videos, photos, witness testimonies, car accident reports, medical records, ticket or arrest records, and vehicle accident reconstructions they can obtain through the investigation of your case. A car accident lawyer can help prove negligence caused the accident and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. With their help, you can collect damages, including medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, disability costs, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Car Accident Claim

A PCL tear can limit your mobility and affect your work status. If your job does not see you as fit to complete what your job requires, you could be in a dire financial position. A car accident lawyer can help you file a car accident claim to recover lost wages and earning potential caused by your injury. At Dolman Law Group, our experienced car accident lawyers can assist you with the legal process of your claim while you recover from your injury. We will put your claim in the best position to succeed by using the legal techniques that made Dolman Law Group one of Florida's most renowned personal law firms. Get in touch with Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation. Call 833-55-CRASH or leave us a message on our online contact page.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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