Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury compensation claims

In this guide we explain everything you should know about making an aCL injury compensation claim.

How much can I claim?

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.

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Do I have a claim for an ACL injury?

If you have suffered an ACL injury in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

Do I have a 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.

Calculate my ACL injury compensation

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

How much can I claim?

Road traffic accident claims

Every year almost 200,000* people are injured on Britain's roads. If you have been injured in a road accident that was not your fault, you can claim compensation.

Find out more about claiming ACL injury compensation for a road accident: Read more about road accident claims

*Source: Official Department of Transport statistics (

Accidents at work - Claims against your employer

Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.

Find out if you can claim ACL injury compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims

*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report

Meet our team

Quittance Legal Services' nationwide panel of solicitors help injured people with all types of personal injury claims, including short-term, serious and life-changing injury claims. Chosen for their track record in recovering compensation, our solicitors have years of dedicated experience.

Meet more of the QLS team: click here.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor

No win, no fee ACL injury claims - the facts

Legal Aid is no longer available for injury claims.

Personal injury solicitors now work on a No Win, No Fee basis.

No Win, No Fee means that if your claim is not successful, you will not need to pay any legal fees.

If you do win your case, a success fee will be deducted from the compensation award and paid to your solicitor.

Read more about how a No Win, No Fee agreement works

Jonathan Speight, Senior litigator

About the author

Jonathan has over 30 years' experience in the personal injury sector and has been awarded the rank of Senior Litigator by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert