An injury to the lungs from a car crash is a serious injury. Your health is the main concern and will always be the priority. But, if you have a lung injury, you need to speak to a personal injury lawyer immediately because your case may have significant value.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of lung injuries that can occur in a car crash and how a lung injury can affect your life. If you suffered a lung injury due to another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation for your damages.
Types of Lung Injuries You Can Get From a Car Accident
Our lungs are vital organs, and when injured, can cause a wide range of problems. Lungs are the sacs of air that we need to respirate and absorb oxygen followed by the release of CO2. The parts of the lung are the trachea, superior lobe, primary bronchus, tertiary bronchus, cardiac notch, and inferior lobe. They are all essential parts that contribute a specific role to the breathing mechanism, so damage to any or several parts of the lung components can cause major damage.
Lung injuries also usually take a long time to heal.
While a bruise or a cut might take a few days or a week to clear up, lung injuries are brutal – imagine a seatbelt crushing your ribs and chest bone and squeezing your lungs. This can result in a catastrophic injury that takes weeks, months, or even longer to fully heal. The chemical smoke released from a car crash can also be bad enough to cause occupant fatalities. Here are some lung injury cases we commonly see following car accidents.
A punctured lung can result from any sharp object penetrating the body and piercing the lungs. This is often caused by the impact of the crash, causing debris or some other object to propel into the driver, passenger, or occupant’s lung. Most often, it’s flying glass from the windows or windshield that cut into the lungs. Another way it can happen is by a bone breaking or shattering and piercing into the lung.
This type of lung injury is reported to be excruciatingly painful and requires immediate medical intervention. Never, under any circumstances, try to remove a piece of stuck glass, metal or other sharp object from your body as this could cause you to bleed out and die. You may need surgery if the item is lodged deeply enough into your lung to cause a life threat.
Symptoms of a punctured lung may appear like:
- Difficulty breathing, or a feeling of shortness of breath
- Minor lung injuries may heal on their own with mild medication management but severe cases require more intensive treatment.
Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax)
When a punctured lung is not tended to soon enough, it can turn into a collapsed lung. Collapsed lungs cause excruciating chest pain, and you’ll definitely know if you have a collapsed lung. You won’t be able to inhale or exhale fully, and may have a persistent cough (which will get painful every time you cough.
A collapsed lung results when too much air collects around the lungs, creating pressure from the buildup and causing the lung to become constricted or collapsed. Treatment for a collapsed lung requires pressure stabilization using a behest tube to assist with aspiration. In the worst cases, people can suffocate due to an untreated collapsed lung.
Pulmonary Chemical Burns and Smoke Damage
Cars and motor vehicles have hundreds of chemicals and harmful liquids in them. From upholstery treatment, to detailing finishes and all of the liquid parts of the engine, there are a scary number of potential toxic fumes that can be released if a car crashes and burns. In the event of a crash, those chemicals can release toxic fumes or even cause an explosion, as many are flammable. When the engine of a car catches ablaze, the chemical fumes are strong enough to burn the lungs.
Even airbags, which are meant to be safety features and ultimately do save lives, have a power inside that may not be as toxic as other fumes or chemicals but can cause some degree of lung damage if inhaled when the airbags deploy.
If a car accident victim inhales too much toxic chemical fumes, they can end up with long-term lung damage and this will drastically change their lives. They may experience reduced mobility, decreased stamina, loss of the ability to be as active as they were before, and become depressed because of all the limitations posed by the injury.
Overexposure to Smoke
Much like how exposure to cigarette smoke is harmful and detrimental to our lungs, overexposure to smoke can be dangerous – even deadly and cause damage on a cellular level.. Smoke that comes about from a car crash usually. In fact, recent car accident studies have shown that just temporary changes in lung function are enough to have a substantially negative impact on the lungs. It can be scary, uncomfortable, and make it hard to breathe when you’re surrounded by smoke,
The carbon monoxide and tiny particles in the air that release with smoke from vehicle combustion are also harmful to the lungs and heart. Too much smoke inhalation can cause brain damage or suffocation and may cause additional symptoms like:
1. Burns on your airways and pulmonary system
2. Coughing and difficulty breathing
7. Sore throat and wheezing
8. Feeling weak and faint or dizziness
9. Eye damage
10. Symptoms that resemble a sinus infection
Lung Injuries Can Cause More Than Just Physical Damage
Lung damage, or any injury for that matter, can cause damage far beyond just physical injuries. Lung damage, however, can cause specific pain and suffering due to the way it can affect and limit a person’s life and abilities. For example, limited breathing and the inability to do exercise because of burned or injured lungs can lead to weight gain over time. Another common long-term side effect or lung damage is depression.
Pain and Suffering From Lung Injuries
A study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University examined the effects of lung impairment and injury on patients.
In the study, researchers followed 186 patients for three years to observe how they were negatively impacted by lung injuries. The initial finding showed that about a quarter of the study group had baseline depression a;ng with 40% experiencing impaired physical abilities. At the two-year follow up mark, the incidence of depression increased to 40% and those with impaired physical functioning capacities increased to 66%.
So what’s the key takeaway from this study? Survivors of severe lung injury experience emotional and physical pain and suffering that worsen over time. So why is this important for you to know? Because you can seek compensation for more than just medical bills. Injury victims who have negative changes in their mental health and wellness after a car accident-related lung injury caan seek pain and suffering damages.
The study highlighted seven particular outcomes that were linked to depression caused by catastrophic or acute lung injury:
1. Lower glucose in their blood levels
2. Increased Likelihood of acquiring other illnesses (vs other critical care patients)
3. Higher incidence of comorbidity with other illnesses
4. Depressive thoughts that are morbid and a feeling of hopelessness
5. Stress related to finances
6. Missed work and lost jobs
7. Less physical activity
The study concluded that the depressive symptoms were a contributing, and preventable, factor for those patients who experienced more severe late-onset physical damages. Basically, it’s important to identify the potential for depression in a Denver car accident victim early on so as to prevent more pain and suffering down the line. For our purposes, the most important message to take away is that you can get financial reimbursement for your pain and suffering.
From a clinical perspective, this means doctors should identify those patients who display depressive symptoms early on to prevent exacerbated outcomes in the long run. By modifying or treating depression early on, the risk of late-onset physical impairment drastically reduces.
Receiving Compensation for Lung Injuries in a Denver Car Accident
If you suffered a lung injury that has affected your ability to work and your quality of life is suffering, you can seek compensation for damages including, but limited to:
- All medical costs including future care needed for accident injuries
- Lost wages and income because you were out of work from your lung injury
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Psychological hardships
Our Denver personal injury lawyers empathize with you and want you to win every penny you deserve. Call us today for a free case review and we’ll give you an honest assessment of what you can expect based on the details of your unique injury claim.
Contact Our Denver Personal Injury Lawyers Today
The lungs are fragile organs that are protected by an entire system of muscles and bones for protection. Unfortunately, the violent impact of a car accident can cause damage to these vital organs and create a life-changing impact for the worse. Whether you were injured by the seat belt or broken flying glass, the lungs are critical organs we need to be in good condition to be in good health.
After experiencing a lung injury, you can suffer for years or in the worst case scenario, for the rest of your life. You may not be able to enjoy life or participate in the activities you did before the lung damage. It may be difficult for you to participate in all the outdoor activities Colorado offers like hiking, kayaking, biking, exercise, dance, or even simply walking because you don’t have full control of your breathing. Whatever the case, call us to help you get the financial compensation that will help you move on with your life after such a disruptive tragedy.
Your ability to work at the same capacity or perform as you did before could even be affected by the injury. If so, call us now. We will fight for you.
Book your free initial consultation now.