Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury Compensation Claims
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.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a personal injury compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article:
How common are anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries?
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.
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.
Do I have an injury claim?
As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make an injury claim if your injury happened:
- within the last 3 years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Claim eligibility - Common questions
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 injury claim on their own behalf.
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.
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.
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.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- 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, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
|Knee injury||Less serious||Minimal ongoing symptoms||Up to £10,960|
|Knee injury||Moderate||Mild long-term symptoms||£11,820 to £20,880|
|Knee injury||Serious||Less severe long-term disability||£20,880 to £34,660|
|Knee injury||Serious||Chronic pain||£41,550 to £55,590|
|Knee injury||Severe||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.
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 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 injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Can I get an interim payment?
Interim payments are effectively an advance on a probable compensation award. An interim payment may be awarded if the claimant is in immediate financial hardship.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an 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 injury claim could be worth now:
How long does an ACL injury claim take?
The length of time needed to win compensation for an ACL injury can vary significantly.
A straightforward liability accepted injury claim might be concluded in a few months.
If liability is contested the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months.
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 does no win, no fee work?
No win, no fee removes the risk from making an injury claim. If you don't win your claim, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
No win, no fee - our guarantee
If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, we can help you make a no win, no fee injury compensation claim.
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once 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 injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. The standard way of funding a no win, no fee claim for a slip, trip or fall, is for a solicitor to take out specialist insurance that ensures that you will have nothing to pay.
How we can help you
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.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim for an accident at work, we are open:
- 8am to 9pm weekdays
- 9am to 6pm on Saturday
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a callback from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
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.
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.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an 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 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
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.
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.
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.