If an ACL injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an ACL injury, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
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, sometimes leading to instability and loss of range of movement in the knee - making it difficult to carry out certain movements.
Am I entitled to make an ACL injury claim?
If you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault, you will be able to claim compensation.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
What if I was partly to blame?
Liability for an accident often involves fault on both sides.
In our recent 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey, 13.99% of respondents thought they could be partially to blame for their accident.
Even if your actions or negligence played a role in the accident, you could still be eligible for compensation. Cases with shared fault (contributory negligence) frequently settle through a split liability agreement.
How long after an ACL injury do I have to start a claim?
An injury claim will usually need to be made within 3 years of the date or your accident or injury.
For injured children, a claim can be started by a parent or guardian at any time before they turn 18. Thereafter, the injured individual has until their 21st birthday to make a claim on their own.
How much compensation can I claim for an ACL injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
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 is compensation for quantifiable financial losses you've incurred as a result of your ACL injury. Compensation can include loss of earnings (including future earnings loss and retraining costs), damage to clothing, and any additional expenses directly related to your injury.
These damages will also cover any medical or treatment bills, such as reconstruction surgery, physical therapy, knee brace, and pain medication.
Average ACL injury general damages compensation
The following ACL injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Knee injury||Less serious||Minimal ongoing symptoms||Up to £12,490|
|Knee injury||Moderate||Mild long-term symptoms||£13,490 to £23,810|
|Knee injury||Serious||Less severe long-term disability||£23,810 to £39,510|
|Knee injury||Serious||Chronic pain||£47,380 to £63,390|
|Knee injury||Severe||Chronic pain and loss of movement||£63,390 to £87,460|
Can I claim for PTS or other psychological trauma?
Psychiatric harm is less obvious than physical injury, but the consequences can be just as difficult to deal with.
According to our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey shows that 29.03% of potential claimants sustained a psychological injury, 70.97% of which related to a physical injury.
ACL injuries often lead to phobia of re-injury, affecting confidence in physical activities and sports, and kinesiophobia (fear of movement or motion due to injury).
A specialist solicitor will consider psychological harm when calculating your compensation. Psychiatric injuries are recognised in the official guidelines for compensation, and the cost of treatment and other mental health support should be included in your compensation award or settlement.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
Who is legally responsible (liable) for my injury?
When making a compensation claim, your solicitor will need to establish that you were owed a duty of care by another party.
A duty of care is when a person, company or organisation has a legal obligation to safeguard the well-being of others.
UK laws impose a duty of care on employers, local authorities, medical professionals, landlords and the owners and occupiers of other premises, to protect workers, visitors and the public from harm.
Who is liable for your injury will depend on where your accident happened:
ACL injuries at work
If you were injured at work, your employer will probably be liable.
Businesses have a legal obligation to ensure that workers:
- are provided with a safe place to work
- are trained to carry out their role
- have the necessary tools and equipment
- are provided with any necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Even if your injury was due to the negligence of a co-worker or fellow employee, the employer will usually be held liable under the principle of vicarious liability.
ACL injuries in public places
If you were injured in public place, like a shop, the owner or operator of the public space may be liable. If, for example, you are injured in a park or on a public road, the local authority may be liable.
The owner or operator should have public liability insurance to pay cover compensation if you are injured.
ACL injuries at home
If you live in a rented property, your landlord has a duty of care (under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985) to maintain your home to a safe standard.
A claim against a housing association, local council or a private or commercial landlord may be possible if you were injured in rented accommodation and that was unsafe.
If your injury resulted from a defective product, a claim against the manufacturer or supplier of the defective product may be possible.
A claim against a building contractor may be possible if sub-standard work results in injury.
ACL injuries and medical negligence
You may be able to claim for clinical negligence against the healthcare professionals involved in the treatment of your ACL injury.
Your solicitor must prove that "on the balance of probability" the treatment was carried out negligently.
Was my treatment or surgery negligent?
"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.
How is my ACL injury medical negligence claim assessed?
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.
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.
Although failed ACL surgery will not necessarily mean the surgeon was negligent, you may have grounds to make a claim if the risks of the surgery were not fully explained to you, or the treatment you received fell below an acceptable standard.
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 sports injuries
Sports such as football, rugby, tennis, squash and skiing are those most likely to lead to an ACL injury.
Claiming compensation for an ACL injury you sustain during a match or during higher risk activity like skiing can be more difficult.
Bringing a successful claim often centres around witnesses. such as spectators or other players. Ideally the incident will have been seen by the referee or match official.
It will also need to be established that you were owed a duty of care.
How do ACL injuries happen?
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.
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).
You can usually claim compensation if someone else's negligence or recklessness led to your injury, such as a wet floor, poorly maintained gym equipment, or a high tackle.
Your solicitor will use medical reports and other evidence, such as witness statements, to prove another party is legally responsible for your ACL injury.
What are the symptoms of an ACL 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.
You can claim compensation for the pain and suffering your ACL injury has caused you, as well as the impact any ongoing restricted movement has on your life and ability to work.
How are ACL injuries treated?
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.
If you have suffered an ACL injury, and you believe your injury was misdiagnosed, or you received negligent treatment or ACL surgery, you may be able to claim compensation.
If you decide to make an ACL injury claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your 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 happen?
The process for an aCL injury claim depends the circumstances of the accident. To learn more, click the icons below:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.