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

A punctured lung is a serious injury that can significantly restrict a person’s ability to breathe. Aside from oxygen deprivation, punctured lungs can lead to other serious conditions if they are not treated immediately. However, if a person receives immediate medical care for a punctured lung, the treatment will usually be able to eliminate most of the ongoing and future health complications presented by the injury. Unfortunately, because a punctured lung is an internal injury, this damage can be hard to identify at first. It is crucial that any person involved in an accident understand the early warning signs and symptoms that could indicate that a lung has been punctured.

What Is a Punctured Lung?

You may also hear punctured lungs referred to as a pneumothorax or a collapsed lung. These injuries occur when the air begins to fill the spaces between two layers of your lung’s tissue lining. The air in these spaces puts pressure on the lung itself and significantly restricts how much the lung can expand. This results in a victim having trouble breathing and getting oxygen into their bloodstream.

Punctured lungs usually occur after a person has experienced trauma to their chest area. This can include vehicle accidents, falls, being struck by an object, or any other traumatic incident that impacts the chest. Sometimes, outside trauma will tear open lung tissue. However, these injuries often occur when a broken rib punctures the tissue lining of the lung.

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Punctured Lung

Most people will not be able to tell right away that they have punctured a lung. Since this is generally an internal injury, there are other signs and symptoms you need to be aware of. The most common indicator of a punctured lung is chest pain. Even a minor pain that seems like general soreness after a car accident or other trauma could be an indicator that long has been punctured. You should always report any signs of chest pain to a medical professional as soon as possible. Punctured lung victims often only feel pain on one side of their body.

Other common symptoms of a punctured lung can include:

  • Chest pains that sharpen when you inhale, take deep breaths, or cough
  • Chest discomfort or tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate or a weakened pulse
  • Pale or blue skin
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing

There are many signs and symptoms that could indicate a punctured lung, and most of these will not show up immediately after an accident occurs. When a person’s adrenaline begins pumping after an initial incident, they may fail to recognize any pain or symptoms, particularly the signs of internal injuries. That is why it is a good idea to seek immediate medical care after an accident occurs, even if you do not feel much pain. If you do not seek treatment right away after an accident, and later began to feel the symptoms mentioned above, call 911 or have someone take you to the emergency room as soon as possible.

Treating a Punctured Lung

The severity of a punctured lung will determine the exact treatment needed. Treatment may involve using a needle to puncture the space where pressure is accumulating to release the air. This could also include draining the air with a temporarily inserted chest tube. A punctured lung may need surgery in order to repair the damage. When a person receives prompt medical attention, a punctured lung will usually heal within 6 to 8 weeks. Call our Miami car accident lawyers today for a free initial consultation.

    It is because of your help that I am in a better position now than I was before.

    “I felt always that you had my best interests at heart and looked out for me. Thank you team you have changed my life and I think of you with gratitude.”

    - A.S.
    I cannot recommend them enough!

    “They have been attentive, knowledgeable, and personally invested in our case. Having them on our side has put us at ease in this very difficult time. Thank you guys so much!”

    - David G.
    He will definitely fight for your cause.

    “Mike is an incredible attorney and is very knowledgeable, hard-working, and caring. He will definitely fight for your cause and will keep you in the loop while doing so!”

    - Esther A.
    He took the reins and made everything so easy for me.

    “As a personal injury lawyer, he is one of the most intelligent, caring, and committed professionals I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Zach personally guided me every step of the way, through insurance companies, doctors, etc.”

    - Lisa C.
    Zach was always available and he truly cares.

    “He personally explained what they were doing every step of the way and he took all the pressure off of her. We couldn’t be more pleased with his professionalism and work ethic.”

    - Matthew C.

When it counTsTM

Make the Right Choice
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.