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How Do I Know if I Have a Punctured Lung from a Car Accident?

Colburn Law

Punctured Lung from a Car Accident

Car accidents generate significant amounts of force, especially if the accident occurs at a very high speed. If you are in a vehicle collision, you can sustain serious injuries, including brain trauma, paralysis, and internal organ damage, such as punctured lungs. A punctured lung is a very serious injury, and, without prompt medical treatment, you can suffer severe, life-threatening complications.

What Is a Punctured Lung?

A punctured lung, also known as a collapsed lung, is a medical condition that occurs when air collects in the space between your lungs and the wall of your chest. As air collects in this space, it puts pressure on the lungs, making it difficult for these organs to expand. As a result, you are unable to breathe.

This injury can occur due to a medical condition, blunt force trauma, or when an internal or external object punctures your lungs. During a car accident, your chest may strike the steering wheel with severe force, leading to a collapsed lung. In other cases, external objects or debris may penetrate the chest and puncture the lung.

One of the most common causes of a punctured lung during a car accident, however, are broken ribs. During the collision, you may sustain severe crushing injuries that break one or more of the ribs surrounding the lungs. The fractured bone can then puncture the lungs, impairing your ability to breathe.

Symptoms of a Punctured Lung

To avoid life-threatening complications, it is very important to recognize the symptoms of a punctured lung quickly. The most obvious and common symptom is chest pain; if you notice any chest pain after a collision, no matter how minor, inform a doctor immediately.

Other symptoms of a punctured lung may include the following.

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain that increases when you inhale or cough
  • Abnormal breathing patterns
  • Pale or blue skin due to lack of oxygen
  • Tightness or discomfort in the chest
  • Increased heart rate

What to Do After a Car Accident in Washington

You should always seek emergency medical attention after a car accident, even if your injuries feel minor. Internal injuries like punctured lungs can be difficult to identify immediately after the crash, and without prompt treatment, you may be unable to breathe. You could die from your injuries without seeking immediate help.

Since Washington is a fault accident state, you may be eligible for financial compensation if someone else caused the collision. You can use this compensation to pay for your medical expenses, recover from lost wages, and recover from other losses, including property damage and pain and suffering. To protect your right to compensation, take the following steps after the accident.

  • Call 911 and report your accident to law enforcement. Record the responding officer’s information if you are able.
  • Seek medical attention for your injuries immediately and save all records. These records will provide a solid foundation for your claim.
  • If you are able to move around the accident site without further injury, take as many photographs of your injuries, the area around the crash, and damage to both vehicles as possible.
  • Likewise, collect contact and insurance information from the at-fault driver if you are able to. Ask witnesses in the area for their contact information as well.

A punctured lung can result in significant hardship, including financial loss, physical pain, and psychological trauma. If someone else caused your injury, you deserve fair compensation—and a Seattle personal injury lawyer can help. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options and plan your next steps.