Punctured Lung Injuries Negligence Claims Guide

By Cat Wayne. Last Updated 5th April 2023. We believe that if you’re the victim of medical negligence, and you’ve suffered an injury or were made ill as a result, you should consider seeking compensation for your suffering.

Any settlement awarded could be used to help pay for any support or care needed as a result of your injuries. Therefore, in this guide, we’re going to look at making claims for a punctured lung caused by medical negligence.

We’ll look at the different scenarios which could cause such an injury, when you might be eligible to claim and how much compensation might be awarded.

Punctured lung compensation claims

Punctured lung compensation claims

Medical Negligence Assist provides a no-obligation assessment of any claim. Our specialist advisors will listen to what’s happened, review any evidence you can supply and provide free claims advice. If they believe there’s a chance of successfully claiming, they could refer you to one of our panel of specialist solicitors. To make your claim less stressful, they work on a No Win No Fee basis for all claims they handle.

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A Guide To Punctured Lung Medical Negligence Claims

In this guide, we’re going to explain when you could be entitled to make a claim for a punctured lung. There are many ways in which you could suffer such an injury, including:

  • In a road traffic accident.
  • During acupuncture.
  • In an accident at work.
  • If you’re stabbed.
  • During surgery.
  • After breaking a rib.
  • During dry needling treatment.

The list above isn’t conclusive and there are many more ways in which a lung could be punctured. During this guide, though, we’re going to specifically look at claims of medical negligence. To prove a medical negligence claim, you’ll need to be able to establish that you received negligent treatment which caused an injury or made an existing condition worse.

Proving what happened and how a medical professional was negligent can be a tricky task. That’s why we advise you to have a specialist medical negligence solicitor on your side. Our panel of solicitors has years of experience handling often difficult claims. If they take your claim on, your solicitor will be available to answer any questions, explain complex legal terms and provide regular updates as your case progresses. They’ll also strive to try and ensure you receive the greatest amount of compensation for your injuries possible.

As well as looking at your eligibility to claim, we’ll provide advice on the different types of injuries you could claim for and how much compensation you could receive. Furthermore, we’ll explain the time limits involved with making a claim.

After you’ve completed this guide, you can call a member of our team if you require any further advice. You can also speak to an advisor if you believe you’re ready to start your claim. They’ll review your case with you, provide free legal advice and could introduce you to one of the solicitors on our panel to take your claim forward.

What Are Punctured Lungs?

In this section, we’re going to look at the specific injury that could lead to a compensation claim if it’s been caused by medical negligence or if a medical professional has failed to diagnose it properly and has caused you to suffer as a result.

Punctured Lung

A punctured lung, also known as a pneumothorax, occurs when air gets into the space between your ribcage and the outside of the lung. A smaller pneumothorax might result in no symptoms or only cause very minor issues. In these cases, the injury could get better over time and not require any treatment. Usually, the air that’s built up in the cavity is the result of a tear outside of the lung. In some cases, such as a stabbing wound, the air can come from outside of the body.

Collapsed Lung

In cases where the pneumothorax is larger, the air can prevent the lung from expanding properly, squash it and lead to a collapsed lung. In cases such as these, urgent treatment might be required, especially for patients with existing lung conditions.


When the air continues to enter the cavity while the victim is breathing, the other lung and heart could also begin to compress. This condition is known as tension pneumothorax and is usually life-threatening. Emergency treatment will usually be required to release the air.

What Are The Causes And Types Of Punctured Lung?

In this section, we’ll look at the three main reasons why a punctured lung can occur.

  • Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax.
    These occur in normally healthy people for no obvious reason. It is the most common type of punctured lung. The cause of a primary spontaneous pneumothorax is usually a tear (usually small) on the outside of the lung. This tear leads to air escaping and becoming trapped in the cavity outside the lung.
  • Secondary Spontaneous Pneumothorax.
    In this scenario, the tear in the lung will occur because of an existing lung condition which weakens the surface and makes it more susceptible to tearing. Conditions that can lead to secondary spontaneous pneumothorax include cystic fibrosis, sarcoidosis, lung cancer, tuberculosis (TB), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
  • Other Causes.
    We’ll review other reasons that a collapsed lung could happen throughout this guide but they include surgical errors, acupuncture, car accidents and criminal injuries.

Punctured Lung Symptoms

A punctured lung injury will need to be diagnosed by a medical professional so that the correct treatment is provided. However, for your information, the main symptoms of a punctured lung are:

  • A feeling of breathlessness.
  • A sudden, sharp pain (akin to stabbing), in one side of the chest which worsens as you breathe in.

Punctured Lung Treatment

The treatment for a punctured lung can vary, depending on the severity of the injury.

According to the NHS, for injuries where a doctor assesses a collapse to be minimal, they may recommend letting the lung naturally heal. However, they may prescribe painkillers for any pain or discomfort.

More serious injuries may require punctured lung surgery. This could include removing air using a needle or hollow tube.

We would ask you to reach out to a medical professional if you are looking for any information about treatment for punctured lungs.

Punctured Lung – Evidence That Can Help Establish Negligence

The evidence you will need to collect may depend on how your lung was punctured. As said, medical negligence is a medical provider’s failure to provide the minimum standard of care – to prove liability, you would need evidence of how negligence had occurred and how this led to your injury.

If you have suffered a punctured lung due to medical negligence, evidence could come in the form of:

  • Records of correspondence with the hospital: These could show a failure to properly inform a person of risks associated with the surgery or show you had made an official complaint prior to making a claim
  • Medical records of the operation: That could show the error, or errors that led to the punctured lung during surgery
  • The findings of an investigation: If one had been conducted by the hospital, the results could be helpful
  • Pictures or scans of wounds: These could show the errors that were made during the surgery.

We would advise you to reach out to a medical negligence solicitor for advice on the evidence you can collect or guidance on how to do so.

Complications Which Could Result From Negligent Medical Care

A pneumothorax could be caused by mistakes during surgical procedures. In cases where the treatment you’ve received is deemed substandard, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim. Proving medical negligence can be a complex task and we’d advise you to seek help from an expert medical negligence solicitor when doing so.

Reasons why a medical professional might’ve been negligent and caused you to suffer include:

  • Not following the correct procedures during your surgery.
  • Failing to diagnose that a pneumothorax had occurred meaning further remedial treatment was required.
  • Operating while tired.
  • Failing to explain the risks of surgery to you.

It may not be obvious from the start whether the medical professional was negligent when causing your injuries. Therefore, one of the solicitors on our panel will discuss what happened with you first. Then they’ll request medical records and review any other evidence you can supply. If they believe that negligence has occurred, the responsible NHS trust will be contacted. They’ll usually pass the claim onto their legal representatives who’ll review the evidence supplied. If they admit liability, then discussions can begin regarding the amount of compensation you’ll receive.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of surgical negligence which has resulted in a punctured lung, please contact an advisor for a free consultation.

Acupuncture Medical Negligence Causing Punctured Lungs

Another form of treatment which could lead to a medical negligence claim is acupuncture. It is a treatment that evolved from ancient Chinese medicine where fine needles are inserted into the body. It is a treatment that’s offered privately and by the NHS and can be performed for preventative or therapeutic reasons.

The idea behind acupuncture is that the needles stimulate sensory nerves in muscles and skin. As a result, the body releases natural substances, such as endorphins, which are pain-relieving.

If an acupuncture needle is inserted incorrectly, it could pierce the lung and lead to a pneumothorax. If that happens, you could be entitled to make a claim against the medical professional who performed your treatment. If you’d like further advice on claiming for the suffering caused by acupuncture negligence, please speak with an advisor today.

Dry Needling Medical Negligence Causing Punctured Lungs

Dry needling is a treatment used to help patients with certain musculoskeletal conditions. While it’s often confused with acupuncture, the two are performed by different therapists who’ve undergone different forms of training. Dry needling isn’t usually a standalone treatment but is used as part of a broader range of treatment.

In a similar way to acupuncture, small thin needles are used to penetrate the skin to treat muscular trigger points. The aim is to try and decrease tightening in a dysfunctional muscle and to reduce tenderness, pain and to increase motion range.

Again, if a needle is inserted incorrectly, it could pierce the wall of the lung and lead to a pneumothorax. Due to the size of the needle, the symptoms of a punctured lung might not present immediately and could take a few hours to become obvious.

If you’ve suffered a punctured lung following dry needling treatment, please speak with an advisor. They’ll assess what happened and how you suffered. If they believe you’ve got a chance of making a successful claim, they’ll introduce you to one of the specialist medical negligence solicitors on our panel.

Punctured Lung Medical Negligence Claims Time Limits

If you’re considering claiming for a punctured lung, we’d advise you to do so as soon as possible. That’s because there are strict time limits for making your claim. If you fail to claim within the time limit, or limitation period, you will automatically forfeit any compensation you could be entitled to.

We’ve provided the following table to clarify how long you have to claim as there are different time limits for each type of claim. Although this guide is about medical negligence claims, we’ve also included claims for criminal injury compensation and accident at work claims in the table for your information.

Type of ClaimLimitation Period
Medical Negligence Claim (adults)3-years from the date the negligence occurred or from when you became aware of your injuries.
Medical Negligence Claim (children)Claims can be made at any time before the child turns 18-years old. After that, the victim has 3-years to make their own claim.
Accident at Work Claims3-years from the date of the accident.
Criminal Injuries Claim2-years from the date of the crime.

If you would like confirmation of how long you have to begin your claim, please contact a member of our team today.

Punctured Lung Medical Negligence Compensation Calculator

A medical negligence claims calculator is a tool you can use to help you understand how your injury could be valued, and to generate an estimate for compensation in your claim.

How Much Is A Lung Worth In Compensation? Try Our Medical Negligence Compensation Calculator

To help you understand how much your lung could be worth, we have created a compensation table featuring different lung injuries of different severities. These valuations come from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) which creates compensation brackets by looking at previous claims that have gone to court. Our figures come from the 2022 edition of the JCG. Please note that these amounts should only be seen as examples, not guarantees.

Lungs£65,740 to £100,670Traumatic injuries to the lungs (and / or heart) resulting in permanent damage, impaired function, reduction of life expectancy or physical disability.
Chest / Lungs£12,590 to £17,960Relatively simple injuries, such as a single penetrating wound with permanent damage but no long-term effect on lung function.
Lungs£2,190 to £5,320Collapsed lung injuries where a full and uncomplicated recovery is made.
RibsUp to £3,950Soft tissue injuries or fractured ribs causing serious pain and disability for a period of weeks.

The amounts shown are examples of general damages – the amount awarded for the pain and distress an injury may have caused to a person. You could also be eligible for an additional amount to compensate you for any financial effects of your injury. This amount is known as special damages.

You can include losses such as:

  • Loss of income
  • Care costs
  • Adaptation costs

If you are looking for help with valuing your injury, or for general information about your claim, please reach out to one of our advisers. They have experience with claims for medical negligence and could offer you invaluable help over a free consultation.

Claim For A Punctured Lung With A No Win No Fee Lawyer

If you’ve suffered a punctured lung, the solicitors on our panel could help you. Working with a solicitor can be very beneficial to your claim, as they can help you gather evidence to prove that your punctured lungs were a result of negligence, as well as the severity of your injuries– for example, you may need to undergo punctured lung surgery.

Our panel of solicitors offer their services under a kind of No Win No Fee contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Under this kind of agreement, a solicitor from our panel can offer their services to you without asking for any ongoing or upfront fees for their services.

The only fee you pay under this kind of agreement is a success fee, and this is only if your claim succeeds. In this case, your solicitor will take a small percentage of your award. However, this percentage is capped by legislation to ensure that you receive the most of your settlement. If your claim does not succeed, then you will not pay this fee.

Contact Us Today

Our advisors are here to help. Get in touch today to find out if you could be eligible to claim for a punctured lung by:

Helpful Links

In this final section of our guide regarding claiming for a punctured lung, we’re going to supply links to some more useful guides as well as some information from trusted external sources. If there’s anything else you’d like to know about beginning a claim, please contact an advisor today.

Heart And Lungs – The latest NHS news science-based articles relating to the heart and lungs.

Pneumothorax Information – Further information on the symptoms and causes of a collapsed lung.

NHS Service Locator – A helpful tool that lets you search for different NHS services in your area.

Below, you can find links to all of our medical negligence claims guides:


Guide by Brett

Edited by Richie