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Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers > Blog > Car Accidents > Collapsed Lungs are a Common Car Accident Injury

Collapsed Lungs are a Common Car Accident Injury


There are a lot of different ways that a person can be injured in a car accident. Some of the most common injuries, however, occur in the chest area, which often takes the brunt of impact in a collision. These types of injuries are very dangerous, as they often affect the lungs, which provide a critical service to the rest of the body, replenishing oxygen into the bloodstream. Trauma to the lungs can interrupt this important function, putting an accident victim’s very life in danger.

What is a Collapsed Lung? 

A collapsed lung, or pneumothorax occurs when air escapes the lungs through abnormal means, causing the air to fill the space between the lung and the chest wall. This causes a buildup of pressure, which in turn can cause the affected lung to partially or fully deflate.

What are the Symptoms of a Collapsed Lung? 

The symptoms of a collapsed lung can vary, but most accident victims who sustain this type of injury experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain, which worsens with deep breathing or coughing;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Coughing;
  • Respiratory distress;
  • Cyanosis, or bluish coloring around the gums, eyes, lips, or nails, which could indicate a lowering of oxygen production;
  • Lightheadedness;
  • A rapid heartbeat; and
  • Unconsciousness.

Most of these symptoms manifest immediately, although in some cases, they could appear as late as 24 to 48 hours after the accident. Unfortunately, adrenaline and fatigue can mask some of those symptoms, leading a person to delay getting medical treatment.

How are Collapsed Lungs Treated? 

Not all collapsed lungs are equally severe. A small pneumothorax, for instance, often heals on its own over time with oxygen treatment and rest or after a doctor releases the air trapped between the lungs and chest wall with a needle. A large pneumothorax injury, on the other hand, will likely require the placing of a chest tube between the ribs to drain the air and allow the lungs to expand fully and heal. These tubes may end up needing to stay in for several days, requiring a hospital stay. Finally, a severely collapsed lung can result in a rapid lack of oxygen, which in turn can cause organ damage and affect cognitive brain function. Treatment in these cases usually involves surgical repair, especially if a patient experienced recurrent collapses, both lungs are affected, or there are other traumatic lung injuries. While these kinds of treatments can be expensive, accident victims who can prove that someone else was responsible for their crash-related lung injury could be entitled to reimbursement for these and other costs.

Did You Suffer a Car Accident-Related Lung Injury? 

To speak with an experienced Savannah car accident lawyer about your own recovery options following a serious car accident, please call Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020. We know how stressful and financially draining these experiences can be and will do all we can to help you recover compensation for your losses and move on with your life.




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