When involved in a car crash, it is often difficult to remember what happened to your body during the impact. However, what part of your body hits what part of the interior should be documented as soon as possible. For example, I represent a driver who banged her knee on the dashboard after getting rear-ended. She didn’t think it was a big deal and felt significantly more discomfort to her neck which was whipped back and forth as a result of the impact. She went to the emergency room but did not mention that she hit her knee on the dashboard. She assumed it was just a bruise or contusion and not worth mentioning.

As the days passed, she felt that her knee was about to “give out” on several occasions. The injured knee did not actually “give out” but it felt unstable. Finally, after 2 weeks she reported it to her doctor who sent her for an MRI. The MRI revealed a posterior cruciate ligament tear. According to medical literature, the most common mechanism of injury to the PCL is a blunt trauma to the knee from the dashboard of a car during a collision. The injury is commonly referred to as “dashboard knee”.

This injury may be very painful and limiting. It may be a temporary or permanent source of discomfort. Surgery may be required to treat it, particularly if the instability causes damage to other ligaments in the knee. If the car crash was a result of the negligence and carelessness of another driver, you may be entitled to some compensation for the pain, suffering and disability caused by the injury to that knee. Therefore, if you hit your knee on the dashboard during a car accident, it should be mentioned to your first medical care provider.  It certainly may resolve, or it could become a more troubling injury.