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How Do I Know If I Have a Punctured Lung From a Car Accident?

A man suffers from a punctured lung after being injured in an auto collision in Atlanta, Georgia.

A man suffers from a punctured lung after being injured in an auto collision in Atlanta, Georgia.Car accident victims often suffer severe injuries that may not be immediately apparent. A punctured lung is one example of this type of injury. A person who suffers a punctured lung in a car crash may not realize they’re injured immediately after the collision. Hours later, they may begin to suffer severe chest pain or have difficulty breathing. If not promptly treated, a punctured lung injury may become fatal.

A punctured lung often requires intensive treatment in the hospital. If you’ve suffered a punctured lung injury from a car accident that was caused by another driver’s carelessness or recklessness, you shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden of medical bills and lost wages due to missed time from work.

Our dedicated Atlanta auto collision attorneys at Butler Kahn work diligently to car crash victims pursue financial compensation. We limit the number of cases we take on to provide each of our clients with the attention, energy, and resources that their case deserves. When you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury like a punctured lung, you should demand excellent legal representation and personalized service.

If you’re ready to investigate your legal options after suffering a punctured lung in a car crash, the lawyers at Butler Kahn are here for you. Reach out to us for a free review of your situation and advice about how to protect your rights and financial interests.

What Is a Punctured Lung?

A punctured lung, also called a collapsed lung or a pneumothorax, refers to an injury involving air or fluid filling the space between the layers of the tissue lining the lungs. This air or fluid buildup puts pressure on the lung and makes it harder for the lung to expand and draw in breath. This means that someone who has suffered a punctured lung will have difficulty breathing and may experience a drop in oxygen levels in the bloodstream.

Punctured lung injuries typically occur due to trauma to the chest or torso, such as from a motor vehicle accident or a fall from heights. The traumatic force may cause damage to lung tissues, or the force may result in broken ribs that damage the lung tissue.

How Can a Car Accident Cause a Punctured Lung?

The forces involved in a car crash can lead to a punctured lung injury in several ways. The trauma of colliding with an airbag or with a steering wheel in an accident may damage lung tissues.

Traumatic forces can also be exerted by seat belts, especially if they are not correctly worn or are worn by children and smaller adults. An Atlanta car accident can also cause other injuries, such as broken ribs, which can cause harm to lung tissue.

What Are the Symptoms of a Punctured Lung?

Signs and symptoms that you may have suffered a punctured lung in a car crash include:

  • Bluish tinge to fingertips or lips, which indicate a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream
  • Chest pain or tightness, especially when breathing in and out
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Labored or abnormal breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate

When you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a medical professional right away. If symptoms are severe, call 911.

How Is a Punctured Lung Treated?

Treatment for a punctured lung injury is designed to help support the breathing process while lung tissue heals. A mild lung injury will eventually heal on its own. However, a person may be given supplemental oxygen through a mask or nasal tube to ensure enough oxygen gets into the bloodstream. You may also be positioned in a certain way, such as lying face down when it helps relieve pressure on your chest and assists with your breathing.

Treatment for a punctured lung may also involve inserting a needle or tube into the chest cavity to help relieve pressure on the lungs. More extensive damage to lung tissues may require surgery, especially if other injuries such as broken ribs cause a punctured lung.

For more serious punctured lung injuries, an injured victim may be placed on a ventilator to help force air into the lungs and push air or fluid out of the tissues surrounding the lungs. Being on a ventilator or other breathing assistance can be incredibly uncomfortable, so you may be sedated to help keep you calm and still until you can be removed from the machine and breathe freely on your own.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Punctured Lung?

If a collapsed lung is promptly treated, the lung will usually re-expand, and the surrounding tissues will heal over time. As a result, most people who recover from a punctured lung do not experience long-term health effects from the injury. However, suffering a punctured lung does increase the risk of suffering a second punctured lung within the several months following the first injury.

Other complications from a punctured lung injury may include secondary infections, respiratory conditions, and general long-term difficulty breathing.

Due to the increased risk of sustaining another collapsed lung injury in the months following a punctured lung, people who repeatedly suffer collapsed lungs may need to undergo treatments to prevent future incidents. Treatments may include surgery to remove scar tissue or procedures to fuse the lung tissue to the chest wall.

When Do You Need Legal Help After a Lung Injury Caused by an Accident?

If you’ve suffered a punctured lung injury in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, contact Butler Kahn right to find out more about your options for pursuing compensation. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys are ready to help you get your life back.

Picture of Jeb Butler
Jeb Butler’s career as a Georgia trial lawyer has led to a $150 million verdict in a product liability case against Chrysler for a dangerous vehicle design that caused the death of a child, a $45 million settlement for a young man who permanently lost the ability to walk and talk, and numerous other verdicts and settlements, many of which are confidential at the defendant’s insistence. Jeb has worked on several cases that led to systemic changes and improvements in public safety. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Georgia SuperLawyer and ranks among Georgia’s legal elite. Jeb graduated in the top 10% of his class at UGA Law, argued on the National Moot Court team, and published in the Law Review. He is the founding partner of Butler Kahn law firm. Connect with me on LinkedIn
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