Seat belts save countless lives; however, that does not mean you will always leave an accident injury-free. On rare occasions, the seat belt itself can cause or exacerbate an injury, especially if not worn properly.
When a seat belt does its job, it restrains the body’s movement as best as possible. A seat belt can cause injuries in the following ways:
- Restraints are too tight or do not fit correctly.
- Improper use of the seat belt on the body.
- Manufacturer defect or seat belt malfunction.
Types of Seat Belt Injuries
Since every accident is different, predicting how your body will be affected is almost impossible. However, there are some common types of injuries a seat belt can inflict, such as:
- Abrasions or lacerations: A seat belt can be so tight or secure that it causes friction, resulting in a scrape or cut. Severe cuts or abrasions should be treated to prevent infection.
- Shoulder injuries: There are many moving parts in the shoulder, where tendons, muscles, and ligaments can tear due to a seat belt lying over it.
- Rib injuries: Depending on the severity of impact felt during the accident, the seat belt can generate enough force back into your body, causing bruising or fracturing your ribs. If you feel pain in your rib area, seek medical treatment immediately, as it could mean internal damage to your lungs or heart.
- Soft tissue injuries: Many injuries from a seat belt are not felt until after the accident. This is referred to as “seat belt syndrome.”
- Chest injuries: It is common to experience a sore chest following an accident because of where the seat belt naturally sits on you. However, like rib injuries, an injury to the sternum should be immediately checked because it helps protect major organs.
- Head injuries: As the seat belt restrains the body from impacting other objects in the car, the force can cause the head to whip back violently, which can cause a head injury, like a concussion or whiplash.
With any car accident, you must immediately seek medical attention, even if you feel that the accident was minor or did not feel any pain. Many injuries do not appear until hours or days after the accident, and the symptoms may worsen quickly.
How to Properly Wear a Seat Belt
Seat belts must be worn properly to prevent injury, especially for children and pregnant women. To wear a seat belt correctly, you should do the following:
- Lay the seat belt flat across the middle of the chest and away from the neck.
- The lap belt should be across the hips and below the stomach. Pregnant women must always do this instead of wearing the belt across the abdomen.
- Never remove the shoulder strap, such as putting it behind or under your arm.
- The belt should not be overly tight to the point that it is uncomfortable.
- The seat belt should not be too loose.
Children should be seated and secured in age and weight-appropriate car seats, which must be in the back seat.
A Mount Holly Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Can Help You if You Have Been Injured by Negligence
If you have been injured in an accident due to negligence, contact a Mount Holly car accident lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman. Call us at 856-751-2345 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in Burlington County and the surrounding areas.