We often hear the question, “Can I sue for damages related to a collapsed lung after a car accident?”
You have the right to sue an at-fault driver for damages and injuries that you received in an accident. Whether you are the other driver, a passenger, or even a pedestrian.
Let’s explore what a lawsuit over a collapsed lung may look like.
What Is a Collapsed Lung?
A collapsed lung is a specific kind of chest injury, also called a pneumothorax, and it occurs when air leaks into the space between your lungs and your chest wall.
There are 5 kinds of collapsed lungs, each with varying degrees of severity:
- Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax: This is when a person with normal lung function that is unaffected by pulmonary disease experiences a collapsed lung. An abnormal amount of air collects in the space between the lungs and the chest cavity, causing the lung to collapse.
- Secondary Spontaneous Pneumothorax: Someone who has a pulmonary disease such as cystic fibrosis (CF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or emphysema may have a collapsed lung as a side effect of their condition.
- Injury-Related Pneumothorax: This kind of collapsed lung occurs when a patient experiences trauma to the chest. It may be caused by blunt force trauma, a knife or gunshot wound, fractured ribs, or the force of a car accident.
- Catamenial Pneumothorax: This is when someone with endometriosis experiences a collapsed lung that is a result of cysts that bleed into the pleural space.
- Latrogenic Pneumothorax: This kind of collapsed lung occurs as a side effect of a medical procedure such as a lung biopsy or central venous line insertion.
Collapsed Lung After a Car Accident
Car accidents are the leading cause of chest injuries that result in a collapsed lung. The injury may occur from the impact of the collision, from a foreign object entering the body and striking the lung, or from a broken rib. Approximately one in three cases of collapsed lung injuries result in death.
Effects of a Collapsed Lung After a Car Accident
A collapsed lung is a life-threatening condition.
It may lead to air entering the chest, but being unable to escape. This means that the patient can inhale, but not fully exhale. That change in pressure can also create a complete collapse of the lung, which can put pressure on the heart.
If the heart can’t pump correctly, the rest of the body may suffer from low blood pressure and oxygen deprivation.
Symptoms of a Collapsed Lung
- Chest pain while breathing
- Breathing difficulties
- Shortness of breath
- Bluish skin tone
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Diagnosing and Treating a Collapsed Lung
To determine if you have suffered a punctured or collapsed lung, your doctor will likely do chest x-rays, blood tests, and other medically indicated scans.
Depending on the cause, size, and severity of a punctured or collapsed lung, the course of treatment varies.
For milder cases, your doctor may use the “look and see” approach and observe your condition, paying close attention to breathing and heart rate patterns. You may be given supplemental oxygen and will have follow-up appointments to track your progress.
In more severe cases, surgery is required. Lung tissue may be surgically removed or the surgeon may perform pleurodesis to reattach the lung to the chest cavity.
Can I Sue Following a Collapsed Lung from a Car Accident?
Recovering from a punctured or collapsed lung is not easy. Following your accident, it is likely that you will stay in the hospital for a prolonged recovery time. You will probably be unable to return to work right away, and you will face extensive medical bills and ongoing treatment.
That means that an injured party can file a lawsuit or personal injury claim against the guilty party. Generally, this occurs after you have filed a claim against the negligent party’s insurance.
If their insurance does not provide enough coverage to compensate you for your injuries, pain, suffering, lost wages, and medical bills, you may file a lawsuit.
Working with an attorney will take the stress out of an already difficult event. Your attorney can help you gather all of the evidence required to prove fault in your accident and get you back on the road to recovery.
Indianapolis Car Accident Attorney
Poynter & Bucheri are trusted names in the Indianapolis legal community. Our experienced and compassionate car accident attorneys guide you through your lawsuit from beginning to end.
When you choose Poynter & Bucheri, you are choosing to work with legal professionals who understand the ins and outs of Indiana’s personal injury law, including injuries caused by car accidents.
A collapsed lung is a traumatic event, and we are here to support you as you recover.
We keep our fees low and our success rate high. If you don’t win your case, you don’t pay any attorney’s fees.
Call us at 1-800-265-9881, or locally at 317-780-8000, to request a free consultation and case review with an Indianapolis car accident attorney. We will explain your legal rights, discuss your options, and provide our legal opinion of your case based on years of experience right here in Indianapolis.