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What is a “dashboard injury?”

If you were involved in a car crash, one or both knees may have struck the dashboard. That can cause a painful injury to the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Because car crashes are a common cause of PCL injuries, it’s even known as a “dashboard injury.”

The force of the bent knee against the dashboard can push in the tibia (shinbone) just underneath the knee and tear the PCL. People who play soccer, football and other sports can also suffer PCL injuries if they fall or are tackled while their knees are bent.

The PCL, along with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia in an “X” shape across the knee. If either one is torn, it can result in swelling, pain and instability of the leg, e.g., as if the knee is going to give out.

Why PCL injuries aren’t always immediately obvious

If a PCL injury isn’t accompanied by any other injury to the knee, the injured person might even be unaware of it at first – particularly if they’re dealing with more serious and painful injuries. However, the pain and instability can get worse over time. A PCL injury can also impact other ligaments and cartilage within the knee.

A PCL injury can affect a person’s mobility for weeks or even months. It can also make them more likely to develop arthritis in the knee as they get older.

Our knees are among the most complex (and largest) joints in our bodies. If one or both of your knees is injured in a crash, it’s wise to find out the extent of your injuries and the treatment that will be required for you to heal and get back your mobility before you accept a settlement from an insurance company or the at-fault driver. An experienced attorney can help you work to get the compensation you need.