Broken ribs and collapsed lungs are among some of the most common injuries you may face following a truck accident. Depending on the seriousness of your injury, you may be unable to lift heavy objects, go to work, or even get out of bed while you are healing. Broken rib injuries from a truck accident can be very serious because they disrupt your personal and professional life and can even result in the inability to provide for your family.

With the high levels of force placed on the body during a truck crash, especially in the chest area, broken ribs and collapsed lungs are likely to occur. In fact, according to Medscape, approximately 10 percent of all patients admitted to the hospital after blunt chest trauma have one or more rib fractures. Airbags and seat belts may also contribute to broken ribs and collapsed lungs.

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Broken Ribs

One of the most common truck accident injuries is a broken rib. Chest trauma, which commonly occurs in serious accidents, can cause ribs to crack or break.

Complications of a Broken Rib

The jagged edges of a broken rib bone can lead to more serious internal damage. For example, the top three ribs are likely to damage major blood vessels—like the aorta—if broken. Broken middle ribs, on the other hand, are more likely to damage or even puncture your lungs, possibly resulting in a collapsed lung. Broken lower ribs are likely to lacerate your spleen, liver, or kidney.


It may be difficult to determine whether you have broken or cracked a rib without medical assistance such as an X-ray. If you have the following symptoms after a truck crash, you may have one or more broken or cracked ribs:

  • It is painful to take a deep breath.
  • It is painful when you press on the injured area.
  • It is painful when you bend or twist your body.
  • You experience dizziness or shortness of breath.

While your symptoms may appear immediately following the accident, if you feel any of the above symptoms within the three days after your accident, seek medical attention.

Treatment and Prognosis

In the majority of cases, broken ribs will heal on their own in about one or two months. During the healing process, it is a good idea to take it slow and use adequate pain control methods such as an ice pack or over-the-counter pain medication. This ensures that you can continue to breathe deeply and avoids common complications such as pneumonia.

However, if you were in a serious truck accident and have difficulty breathing, feel pressure, or a squeezing pain in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, you should seek medical attention immediately.

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Collapsed Lungs

A pneumothorax, or as it is more commonly known, a collapsed lung, occurs when air leaks into the space between your lung and chest wall. This leaking air pushes on the outside of your lung and makes it collapse. Collapsed lungs are the result of blunt force trauma or a penetrating injury to your chest, both of which commonly occur during serious truck accidents.

Symptoms: Symptoms of a collapsed lung include sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. If you fear that one of your lungs has collapsed after a truck crash you should seek medical attention immediately, as collapsed lungs can be life threatening in some occasions.

Treatment and Prognosis: For most collapsed lungs, treatment includes a removing the excess air from your chest cavity by inserting a flexible tube or needle between your ribs. Depending on the seriousness of your injury, most collapsed lungs heal within one to two weeks.

In some cases, partially collapsed lungs may heal on their own. After suffering from a collapsed lung, you are more likely to suffer from another collapsed lung in the future and may need surgery to permanently repair your lungs.

The Costs of Broken Rib Injuries

While most of the treatments for broken rib injuries are noninvasive, they can still be costly. X-rays, medications, and emergency room visits can cost thousands of dollars. If you suffer complications from your injuries, such as pneumonia or a second collapsed lung (someone who suffered a collapsed lung may suffer another within two years of the first), you may be looking at more time in the hospital or even surgery to correct the problem.

In addition to the medical costs, you may also need to take time off work to heal. Your lost wages and medical expenses could put a serious strain on you and your family.

Get Help for Your Injuries Today

If you suffered broken rib injuries in an accident resulting from another driver’s careless actions, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. For legal assistance after a truck accident contact The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian™ today: 713-714-1414.