According to the University of California San Francisco’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 200,000 people suffer from ACL injuries annually. Many of these injuries happen during sports accidents and car collisions. A bad fall can also result in a torn ACL. Most often, surgery is required to suture the torn tendon back together, and sometimes a graft from the hamstring tendon is also necessary. ACL surgery is costly, and the process of recovery is long, painful, and draining. If you are the victim of a slip and fall, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit to recover damages that will help pay for you medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Reaching out to an experienced slip and fall premises liability attorney is the first step to financial recovery.
What is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and What Does it Do?
There are four main ligaments (also referred to as tendons) in the knee. The ACL is one of them. The anatomy of the ACL is such that when it becomes severed, walking or even standing on that leg becomes impossible, as it provides 90 percent of the knee joint’s stability. Deriving from a notch within the distal femur, the ACL goes up to and attaches at the tibia.
ACL Tears During a Slip and Fall
There are two ways an ACL tear can happen. The first scenario involves a direct impact to the tendon, which is may or may not be the cause of injury in a fall. The second scenario involves twisting or a sudden jolt on the knee, such as a fall from a height or a sprawling, last ditch effort to stay upright. In a slip and fall, the initial ACL tear could actually happen during the slipping motion. The fall itself may not have caused the tendon to rupture.
Surgery is Usually Required
Depending on the specific injury, most ACL injuries require surgery. However, if the tendon is only be partially torn, or if the patient is very old, has no athletic ambitions, and does not want to risk surgery, there may be no need for a surgical option. A full tear requires sutures and possibly a graft from the hamstring tendon. Quite often, the meniscus (the cartilage within the knee) is torn too, and may or may not require surgery. In a bone avulsion, the tendon tears off chunks of bone. ACL surgery is required to reattach these bone fragments. Recovery, for most people, generally takes at least six months. Ice, compression, elevation, pain medication, and a lot of rest are necessary after surgery. Physical rehabilitation will also likely be prescribed to regain range of motion, balance, and strength. Unfortunately, in most cases, the ACL will never return to its original strength and ability.
All business owners are bound to a duty of care to keep their premises safe for all who enter during business hours. If they failed to uphold this duty by failing to clean a greasy floor, allowing standing water to accumulate, or by placing unsafe obstacles in the walkway, they may be held liable if you or a loved one gets injured. Contact an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina, slip and fall personal injury attorney today to discuss your legal options.