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.

Introduction

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.

How do ACL injuries occur?

The ACL may tear if you stop or change direction suddenly; land incorrectly from a jump, or are struck on the side of the knee (for example in a football tackle).

Sports such as football, rugby, tennis, squash and skiing are those most likely to lead to 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 damage, 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.

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.

Recovering from an ACL injury

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

If the knee feels stable and your 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 osteoarthritis 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.

ACL injuries and medical negligence

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 you about the risks and the probable outcome of an operation so you can make an informed choice.

The definition of negligence may be regarded differently by various medical experts, making demonstrating negligence a complicated 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 claim process and used to calculate how much compensation you are entitled to.

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, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.

Find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker:

Check my claim

Are there any exceptions?

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.

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 claim if the acl injury made an existing injury worse?

Yes, although demonstrating this can be more difficult, so legal and medical advice should be sought as early as possible.

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.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

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

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple 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.

Read more about multiple injury claims

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.

ACL injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an ACL injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your ACL injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does an ACL injury claim take?

The length of time needed to win compensation for an ACL injury can vary significantly.

For example, a straightforward liability accepted injury claim might be concluded in a couple of months. However, if liability is denied the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read:

How long will my claim take?

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:

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. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

How can Quittance help?

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

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 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?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

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

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim ACL injury compensation.

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

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the 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