Inhalation Injuries Caused by Toxic Fumes in a Car Accident
When we think about car accident injuries, we typically focus on injuries caused by blunt force trauma or penetrating injuries. However, this is not the only danger that car accident victims face. If a collision involves an explosion, fire, or leak of toxic substances, the accident victims could suffer serious and sometimes fatal inhalation injuries. This is an especially great concern in crashes involving commercial trucks hauling hazardous materials.
Inhalation injuries caused by toxic fumes in a car accident may involve lung damage from breathing in smoke or particulates, aspiration of liquids into the lungs, carbon monoxide poisoning, oxygen deprivation, and other potentially life-threatening injuries.
Exposure to Toxic Chemicals in a Car Crash
Smoke and gases released in a collision often contain extremely harmful chemicals called chemical asphyxiants. When inhaled, substances like hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, propane, ethane, and methane prevent a person from getting enough oxygen. The extent of the damage caused by chemical asphyxiants depends on how much of the substance was inhaled and how long the person was exposed to the dangerous chemicals.
Medical consequences of smoke inhalation can include:
Organ damage - When organs do not receive enough oxygen, they start to shut down. Breathing in toxic fumes or smoke during a car accident can result in long-term or permanent organ damage.
Respiratory problems - Toxic fumes can damage the lungs, resulting in breathing difficulty, coughing up blood, and other serious respiratory issues. In severe cases, a person may suffer from pulmonary edema or respiratory failure.
Brain damage - Exposure to carbon monoxide and other chemicals can cause brain injuries that range from mild to severe. Victims of inhalation injuries may experience memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and other cognitive problems that can last for months or years after the accident.
Chemical burns - Inhalation of corrosive substances can cause painful burns to the mouth, respiratory tract, and mucous membranes.
The treatment for smoke inhalation injuries varies, but most individuals require medical testing such as blood tests, oxygen level tests, and X-rays to determine the extent of the damage. Oxygen therapy, hyperbaric therapy, medications such as bronchodilators, and other treatments may be needed to mitigate the damage.
Individuals who sustain severe brain damage because of smoke inhalation in a car accident may require long-term rehabilitation, including rehabilitative care, assistive devices, nursing home care, at-home care, and more.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving toxic fumes, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer can guide you through the process of filing a claim to pursue financial compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and other damages.
Contact a Cook County Inhalation Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered inhalation injuries caused by exposure to toxic chemicals or smoke in a car crash, contact the Orland Park personal injury lawyers at Schwartz Injury Law for legal help. Our skilled team will help you take legal action against the at-fault party and pursue financial compensation for medical bills, lost income, lost qualify of life, and other damages. Call 708-888-2160 for a free, no-obligation consultation.