No Apparent Injury Initially From Rear End Collision

LD, a former client, was stopped in rush hour traffic on the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago when his car was struck in the left rear quarter panel by a construction truck traveling no more than 5 mph.  The impact caused LD’s right knee to strike the steering column.  He denied injury at the accident site but a short time later, sought treatment for knee pain in the ER at the University of Chicago Hospital.

Surgery Performed On Miniscus To Repair Articular Cartilage

Treated and released with what was thought to be a knee strain, LD followed up with an orthopedic surgeon 2 days later, in significantly more pain. An MRI determined a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).  Arthroscopic Surgery was recommended.  During the surgery, the ACL was noted to be partially torn, and stable, while extensive damage was noted to the articular cartilage of LD’s right knee.  So the ACL was left alone, and surgery was performed on his meniscus and to clean out fragmented and fractured articular cartilage.

Successful Recovery From Prior Knee Injury

LD had had a previous accident affecting his right knee 2 years earlier, and had surgery for a torn meniscus. Recovery from the earlier event was good, and LD required no treatment until the accident with the construction truck. 

Likely Need for Two Knee Replacements

Articular cartilage lines the knee joint, allowing for smooth movement of the knee.  Once damaged, articular cartilage does not repair, and is the cause of arthritis.  Given that LD was 30 years old at the time of this accident, his surgeon believed he would eventually need 2 knee replacements.  Soon after, the surgeon retired.

Litigation followed, depositions of treating and expert surgeons were taken, with a central question being whether LD would actually undergo knee replacement, and if so, when.  Liability for the accident was determined early in the case, and proceeded only on the issue of damages.

Typically, because the hardware and cement components of a knee replacement have a life expectancy of approximately 15-20 years, the surgery is delayed until a patient is in his/her 60’s. If done on a young person, the chances of needing a 2nd replacement are high. Knee replacement for someone in his early 30’s is rare. 

Stiff Knee Develops After Knee Replacement

After combating pain for 3 years after the accident with the construction truck, undergoing treatment short of a replacement, and losing considerable time from work as a truck driver, LD underwent knee replacement.  Although compliant with post operative therapy, LD developed a stiff knee that required additional surgery.  The surgeon who performed the replacement agreed that LD would need a full or partial replacement in the future.

$950,000 Settlement Reached With Insurance Company For Construction Truck

With LD’s medical bills mounting, lost wage claim growing, and the case set for trial early the next year, the insurance company for the construction truck agreed to settle this case for $950,000, which LD accepted.