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Can a car accident cause your lungs to collapse?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

The car, truck or SUV you drive every day has dozens of safety features, including seat belts and airbags. These features help to protect you and your passengers from many injuries during motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, though, they may also contribute to some.

Your lungs are essentially balloons, inflating and deflating as you inhale and exhale. If you develop a hole in either of your lungs, breathing may become exceedingly difficult. Therefore, you should never ignore the symptoms of a possible collapsed lung after a car accident.

Dangerous air leakage

Pneumothorax is the medical name for a collapsed lung. According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition happens when air leaks from your lungs into your chest cavity. As air accumulates inside your chest wall, it puts external pressure on your lungs. This pressure is what causes one or both lungs to collapse.

Physical trauma

While certain illnesses can lead to lung collapse, trauma is the most common cause. In a motor vehicle accident, you may suffer chest trauma in a few different ways. For example, you may sustain a chest injury when your torso presses against your seat belt or collides with an inflated airbag. If an accident breaks your ribs or sternum, you may have an increased risk of suffering lung collapse.

A medical emergency

Being able to breathe properly is vital for your overall health. Consequently, if you have a collapsed lung, you should treat the injury as a medical emergency. Go to the emergency room immediately if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of consciousness

Ultimately, while pursuing medical treatment for your collapsed lung is likely to be expensive, you may be able to seek financial compensation from the driver or drivers who caused the accident.