Common Leg Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

A car collision can be terrifying for many reasons. When someone else crashes into your vehicle, it can result in a ripple effect. Your legs can strike against the interior of your vehicle, or be struck by flying objects. Ultimately, car wrecks can be painful and expensive.

If you sustain a leg injury, you might be too distracted with your recovery to protect your legal rights for compensation. Leg injuries can result in long-lasting pain that inhibits your movement. You might even need physical therapy, or surgery. If you in an auto accident and suffering from a leg injury, contact the knowledgeable car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt to see how our Baltimore law firm can help with your claim.

What Causes Leg Injuries in a Car Collision?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), leg injuries are very common in frontal vehicle crashes. In most situations, leg injuries occur from the collapse of the small space where your legs rest while driving (for both drivers and passengers). Essentially, when this already small space gets crushes, it often directly affects the driver’s and passenger’s legs.

In car accidents that involve lower leg injuries, the floor or foot control is likely to blame. In crashes that involve upper leg injuries, the knee bolster or instrument panel was likely the source of the injury. The steering wheel can affect the legs and kneecaps as well.

Ultimately, the United States Department of Transportation reports that roughly 38 percent of all front-end collisions involve some kind of leg injury. When the wreck is one from the front, the likelihood of leg damage doubles compared to other types of accidents. These injuries can be very severe, depending on how serious the collision may be.

What Are Some Common Leg Injuries Sustained in an Auto Accident?

Many types of leg injuries might occur after a collision. While broken bones might be the most obvious injury, leg damage can extend far beyond broken bones. Some leg injuries might be life-threatening, such as whey they result in nerve damage, blood vessel damage, or spinal cord damage. Amputations might also occur in serious car wrecks.

Some of these common leg injuries might affect drivers and passengers for the rest of their lives.

Broken or crushed bones

You have sixty bones in your body from hip to toe. The legs have four major bones:

  • Tibia
  • Smaller fibula
  • Femur (thigh bone)
  • Patella (kneecap

Any of these leg bones are vulnerable during a car collision, even though the femur is often known as the strongest bone in the body. Your legs often experience the impact very differently than the rest of your body. If you know the crash is coming, many people brace their legs on the floor, which can lead to bone fractures in the legs and feet and broken legs.

Bones can break and shatter if there is sudden, strong pressure. Prolonged pressure can also break a bone. In fact, many bones break in more than on location in sever car wrecks.

You might not notice every leg fracture right away. Smaller breaks or fractures might only be discovered after an x-ray. You might have pain but can still put some pressure on your leg, so you make the mistake of assuming you have a bruise. Instead, you might have a break that gets worse once you use your leg normally for a period-of-time.

Be sure to get medical attention after any vehicle accident, even if you do not think you are hurt that badly. Some injuries might not seem serious until hours or even days after the auto wreck.


Bruises from car accidents are extremely common. They are usually visible on the skin because they will discolor your normal pigment. They might turn blue, purple, or yellow. In most cases, a bruise will be painful, but it often does not cause any long-term damage.

In general, a bruise will appear after an impact with an object. Blood pools under the skin because of damage to blood vessels. Bruising might show up immediately after an auto collision, or it might take a few hours or days to appear.

A hematoma is technically a type of bruise. It is must more painful than the average bruise. They are usually bigger than the typical bruise and painful to the touch.

Car accident victims sometimes experience internal bruising as well. An internal bruise is damage to the deep tissue under the skin. You can also experience a bruise on your bones or muscles. These painful injuries often result in swelling, discoloration of the skin, and trouble moving the affected area. Bone bruises will often last longer than the average bruise as well.

ACL injuries

Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects the femur to the tibia. It also goes directly to the kneecap between these two critical bones. The ACL provides stability and flexibility to your knee joint.

ACL injuries are extremely common, especially in athletes, who use their legs quite a bit. Hyperextending the knee or twisting the legs the wrong way can lead to an ACL injury. Both movements are relatively common in auto crashes. In fact, of all knee injuries that a car collision causes, damage to the ACL is the most common.

Anyone who experiences an ACL injury will often tell you they heard or felt a popping or cracking and immediate pain in the knee area. If you have a severe ACL injury, you likely cannot put pressure or weight on the affected leg. The knee will usually swell as well, causing a severe limitation in the range of motion. Recovering from an ACL injury can often take months.

Meniscus injuries

The meniscus is a critical part of the knee. It is a piece of cartilage that cushions the knee so that the bones that the knee connects – the femur and tibia – do not rub against one another. They also absorb shock when you place weight on your leg, such as from walking, running, climbing, crawling, or any other weight-bearing activity.

The meniscus can tear, making it less effective in preventing injury. A torn meniscus can be painful, but it can also make movement very difficult.

Car crash victims often end up with a meniscus tear because of the crashes impact. This type of injury is frequently painful immediately. However, the movement might not be inhibited until a few days after the collision. The knee will become stiffer, and walking might become more difficult and limited.

Soft tissue injuries

Soft tissue is any item in the body that protects, supports, or connects other parts of the body, including organs. Soft tissues could include the following:

  • Blood vessels
  • Cartilage
  • Tendon ruptures
  • Nerves
  • Ligaments
  • Fat
  • Muscles

Soft tissue injuries can be extremely painful and often take a significant amount of time to heal. They include tears, sprains, bruises, scrapes, lacerations, dislocation, and more. In most cases, soft tissue injuries can be difficult to diagnose because they will not appear on an x-ray. You might be able to see some soft tissue damage in a CT scan, but not always.

There is often no real treatment to address a soft tissue injury. These injuries need to heal on their own using plenty of rest. Over time, the area will begin to heal, but car crash victims might have limited movement and severe pain while it heals.

What Are the Symptoms of a Leg Injury?

A leg injury’s symptoms vary based on your type of injury. However, any of the following symptoms might indicate something wrong with your lower extremity due to the auto accident.

  • Leg pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty walking or moving the leg
  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Popping or cracking sounds

Get medical attention after a car collision, even if you think your injuries might be minor. Even seemingly minor scrapes and bruises can be a sign of something much more serious. Do not wait to get medical help.

In addition, some leg injury symptoms do not appear until hours or even days after the crash. Seek our medical care as soon as you start to notice symptoms. Quick action can help you heal faster and get back on your feet.

Can I Get Compensation for My Leg Injury After a Car Crash?

It depends. Every case is different, but if your leg injury was the fault of another driver or person, you might be able to get compensation for your losses and damages. Below are some of the common types of compensation you might be able to receive after a car accident in Maryland:

  • Medical expenses (present and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering


Insurance companies do not want to pay for leg injuries (really any injuries at all) and they are hoping you do not hire a car accident attorney to fight for the compensation you deserve.

They often offer a settlement soon after the auto collision in hopes that they will not be liable for any of your emerging leg symptoms that could require long-term treatment. Conditions that may worsen over time or that result in lost wages or quality of life can not be compensated after you accept a settlement check.

If you are physically injured in a car crash and you are worried about mounting medical bills, lost wages, and recovery time, contact our law firm today.

The sooner you call, the more help we can provide in dealing with the paperwork and hassle involved in sorting out your insurance, repairing your vehicle, and handling your medical care.

If you are still dealing with the fallout from a car collision, it is never too late to call us and get a free consultation about your case and any compensation you may be due.

We will schedule a time convenient for you to meet with our Baltimore accident attorneys, either in person, over the phone, or via secure video chat. We will discuss your options, what to expect and how we can help get you the money you deserve.

Call the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt at 443-844-1528 for more information about how our team of personal injury lawyers can help. Let us help you get back on your feet anytime day or night.