Lung injuries happen for a variety of reasons. While the skeleton and muscles protect the body’s vital organs from everyday bumps and bruises, these organs can suffer damage if the body sustains a violent blow. Automobile accidents and certain workplace accidents in particular can lead to a collapsed lung.
The lungs can also suffer disease. This kind of damage is often caused by occupational exposure to hazardous materials and chemicals.
Both are serious situations that require medical intervention. They also often mean a long-term recovery that impacts everyday living. It is also unfortunately true that once someone has had one collapsed lung, then he at increased risk for having another. This is particularly true for smokers.
Pneumothorax is the term for a collapsed lung. A partially collapsed lung is known as atelectasis. While atelectasis might not cause serious symptoms, pneumothorax does and is often life threatening.
A traumatic pneumothorax is commonly known as a punctured lung and is caused by blunt chest trauma directly to the lungs. When a lung is punctured, air collects between the lung tissue and the chest cavity, preventing the lung from expanding.
In severe cases, the lung can collapse quickly, even pushing the heart against the non-collapsed lung and thereby squeezing both the lung and the heart. Symptoms include severe difficulty breathing, a tight chest and pain when breathing. The victim needs immediate medical attention.
Automobiles Accidents and Collapsed Lungs
Drivers in automobile accidents often suffer a punctured lung when they experience blunt force trauma by slamming into the steering wheel column. Breaking a rib or fracturing the breastbone can also puncture a lung as the broken bones can splinter and penetrate the chest cavity.
If the automobile accident was the fault of another driver, then the injured driver might have a case for compensation. He might also have a case if a defective automobile part contributed to the lung injury. For example, if a motorist is in an accident and his seat belt fails to work properly, then he might have a claim against the automobile manufacturer.
Workplaces and Collapsed Lungs
Some workplaces are more dangerous than others. Elevated falls, flying objects and collisions with machinery in warehouses, on construction sites, in mining operations, in railway yards and in other dangerous work environments can cause a punctured lung.
If a worker’s employer was negligent in maintaining a safe work area, then the injured worker might have a claim against him and be able to collect compensation for his lung injury.
Occupational Lung Disease
Inhaling workplace dusts, chemical fumes and other contaminants causes this type of lung disease. Workplace-caused lung disease can lead to a collapsed lung but more often causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis or occupational asthma.
This kind of long-term damage makes breathing, something that most people take for granted, difficult, impeding a person’s ability to function. In come cases, these victims become oxygen dependent, less mobile and unable to experience life in the same way as before.
If a worker is a victim of occupational exposure, then he might have a case against his employer. Businesses must maintain a safe working environment. If they fail to do so, then they might be found negligent.
Statute of Limitations
According to Wisconsin law, a victim who has suffered a lung injury due to another person’s or entity’s negligence has three years from the date of the injury to file a claim in court. After this three-year time limit expires, then the injured person cannot collect compensation for his injuries.
Talk to a Wisconsin Lung Injury Lawyer
It takes a skilled, experienced personal injury attorney to navigate Wisconsin’s complex personal injury law. If you have suffered a lung injury, then contact us. Defendants and their insurance companies rarely admit fault, and they have lawyers protecting them. You should, too, so that you receive the compensation that you deserve for your lung injury.