A Guide to Claiming ACL Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by ACL we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered ACL and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.


Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are one of the most common types of knee injury and account for around 40% of all sports injuries.

An injury to the ACL may be painful and debilitating, and may lead to instability and loss of range of movement in the knee, making it difficult to carry out certain movements.

Tears to the anterior cruciate ligament are caused by the lower leg extending too far forward, or by the lower leg and knee being twisted. Most tears occur either in the middle of the ligament or where the ligament attaches to the thigh bone. A gap is formed between the torn edges, which does not heal on its own.

Surgery is generally the best course of treatment for an ACL injury, although this may depend on the extent of the injury and the age and lifestyle of the patient.

Do I have an acl injury claim?

You should be eligible to make an acl injury claim if your injury occurred:

  • in the last three years and,
  • someone else was at fault.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, a compensation claim may still be a possibility.

To get an impartial answer, you can speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.

A short call will tell you exactly where you stand. You will be under no obligation to start a claim with Quittance.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an acl injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

Can I still claim if I didn't report the acl injury?

If you did not report the accident it can make it more difficult to pursue an acl injury claim, but a claim may still be possible. This will depend on the circumstances of your case and on the other evidence available.

Check my claim

How do ACL injuries occur?

The ACL may tear if a person stops or changes direction suddenly; lands incorrectly from a jump, or is hit very hard on the side of the knee (for example in a football tackle).

People who participate in sports such as football, rugby, tennis, squash and skiing are those most likely to sustain an ACL injury.

What are the symptoms of anterior cruciate ligament injury?

Early symptoms of ACL damage are severe pain in the knee and there may be a "popping" sound at the time of the injury. Swelling will develop in the knee within a few hours of the injury and it may be difficult to put weight on the injured leg.

Even with a mild injury the knee may feel unstable, and movement may be restricted.

Repairing ACL injuries

Depending on the extent of the damage to the ACL a doctor may or may not recommend surgery.

If the knee does not feel unstable and the patient's lifestyle is not active it may be decided to treat the injury with non-surgical options such as physiotherapy.

However, in some cases delaying surgery may risk further damaging the knee and may increase the risk of developing osteo-arthritis in the knee at a later date.

Instability in the knee may also increase the risk of falls if the weak knee suddenly "gives way".

Surgery involves either reconstructing the ligament by removing the remains of the torn ligament and replacing it with a tendon from another part of the leg, or repairing the tear by grafting new tissue onto it.

In over 80% of cases surgery is successful in fully restoring the functioning of the knee, although it may take up to 6 months for the knee to fully recover after the operation.

What are the risks of ACL surgery?

Risks of surgery include infections and blood clots.

20% of patients experience pain after surgery. This may be behind the kneecap, especially where the patellar (kneecap) tendon has been used for graft tissue, or when kneeling or crouching.

Some patients still have stiffness or long-term weakness in their knee.

There is also a 10% chance that the newly grafted ligament may fail, causing instability in the knee.

Can I bring a claim for negligence for my ACL injury?

Bringing a claim for clinical negligence against the healthcare professionals involved in the treatment of your ACL injury may be possible if it can be demonstrated that "on the balance of probability" the treatment was carried out negligently.

"Negligence" in this context means that the care you received fell below medically acceptable standards, and this directly caused the pain and suffering you are now experiencing.

Examples where this may be the case include:

  • The healthcare professionals failing to correctly diagnose the injury (including deciding that surgery was not required)
  • Making mistakes during the surgery
  • Failing to administer the correct drugs, such as antibiotics and anti-coagulants
  • Not warning the patient about the risks of surgery and the probable outcome so the patient may make informed consent.

The definition of negligence may be regarded differently by various medical experts, making demonstrating negligence a complex process.

Some injuries that occur through surgery may be regarded as ‘medical accidents' or ‘patient safety incidents' and are not necessarily due to negligent treatment.

It will also be necessary to demonstrate that your injuries are due to damage to the ACL.

An independent medical assessment will be carried out as part of the claim to determine the cause and extent of your injuries and longer term impact on your life. The report will be presented as part of the compensation claim and used to calculate how much you are entitled to be awarded.

How much compensation can I claim for an acl injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your acl injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your acl injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after an acl injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Acl Injury compensation amounts

The following acl injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

Injury Example Amount
Less serious Knee injury Minimal ongoing symptoms Up to £10,960
Moderate Knee injury Mild long-term symptoms £11,820 to £20,880
Serious Knee injury Less severe long-term disability £20,880 to £34,660
Serious Knee injury Chronic pain £41,550 to £55,590
Severe Knee injury Chronic pain and loss of movement £55,590 to £76,690
Show more results

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple acl injury injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious knee injury can be £30,000

For a more minor wrist injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £2,900.

However, if you have a serious knee injury and a more minor wrist injury, you would typically receive £30,000 + a reduced percentage of £2,900.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

What is the average injury compensation for an acl injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an acl injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your acl injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Find out what your acl injury claim could be worth now

Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated, particularly if you have multiple injuries.

If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.

Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.

Can I see the complete judicial college tables?

The table above (excerpted from the Judicial College Tables) shows the most common acl injury claims. To see the complete list see: Judicial College Injury Tables.

Calculate my claim

How long do I have to make an acl injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the acl injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your acl injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for an acl injury after 3 years?

For adults, the general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after an acl injury.

However, if you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an acl injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Will I still be able to claim for an acl injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your acl injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

At work

If you are thinking of making a work accident or injury claim, there are some key points to be aware of:

Work Accident Claims - What you need to know

In a road accident

If you are thinking of making a road accident claim, there are some key points to be aware of:

Road Accident Claims - What you need to know

In a public place (e.g. supermarket, pavement)

If you have been injured in a public place, there are some key points you need to be aware of:

Public Place Claims - What you need to know

Medical negligence

According to the latest figures published in 2019, there were over 17,000 clinical negligence claims in the year 2016-17. This increase is largely down to an overstretched NHS.

If you are thinking of making a medical negligence claim, there are some key points to be aware of:

Clinical Negligence Claims - What you need to know

Other claim types

Find details on another type of claim:

See list of other claims

No win, no fee - the facts

Under a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if you do not winn your claim .

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an acl injury claim - even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my acl injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my acl injury claim?

If your acl injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees.

Read more about No win, no fee

Please note, under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How can Quittance help?

Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Acl Injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long will my claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.

For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.

Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.

Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:

Personal injury claim type

Estimated claim duration*

Road accident claims

4 to 9 months

Work accident claims

6 to 9 months

Medical negligence claims

12 to 36 months

Industrial disease claims

12 to 18 months

Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

6 to 9 months

MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

3 to 4 months**

CICA claims (criminal assault)

12 to 18 months**

*RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert