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Types of Seat Belt Injuries in a Car Accident

Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to prevent a fatality and reduce the severity of an injury in a car accident. While seat belts are generally life-saving, there are situations where they can cause injuries.

The types and severity of a seat belt injury will depend on various factors, including where the belt was on the body and how fast the vehicles traveled when the crash occurred. For example, lap belts typically cause injuries that affect the spinal cord, the lumbar spine, or the abdomen. Seat belts across the shoulder typically cause neck, sternum, and shoulder injuries. Seat belt syndrome occurs when you have internal damage caused by the seat belt, but it is not apparent immediately following the accident. Even though you may have severe intra-abdominal injuries, you may not experience symptoms for hours or even days after the crash. You must seek immediate medical attention after a car accident, even if you are not experiencing any pain or discomfort.

The following are additional examples of seat belt-related injuries:

  • Bruised or fractured ribs
  • Neck injuries due to whiplash
  • Sternum and chest injuries
  • Torn shoulder muscles and tendons
  • Head contusions from hitting the steering wheel or dashboard
  • Intestinal injuries
  • Abrasions and lacerations
  • Abdominal wall injuries

What Causes a Seat Belt Injury?

Even when a seat belt function successfully and adequately restrains the occupants in the event of a car accident, there are a variety of factors that can cause a seat belt injury, including:

  • The severity of the accident and the force of impact.
  • Exceptionally tight restraints.
  • Improper placement of the seat belt on the body.
  • Seat belt malfunction.
  • Seat belt manufacturer defect.

What Are Common Symptoms of a Seat Belt Injury?

There are a range of symptoms you may experience, depending on the type of seat belt injury and the severity of the accident. The following are examples of symptoms that you may encounter, either immediately or in the hours or days after the accident:

  • Difficulty or inability to urinate or empty your bowels.
  • Blood in the urine or stool.
  • Coughing or vomiting blood.
  • Dizziness, weakness, or pale, wet skin, which may be a symptom of severe internal bleeding or shock.
  • Leg weakness could indicate an abdominal, lower back, or spinal nerve injury.
  • Neck pain or stiffness caused by whiplash.
  • Labored or painful breathing or chest or back pain may indicate a heart, lung, or vascular injury.

How Do I Prevent a Seat Belt Injury?

Even though seat belts can cause potentially serious injuries, there is no question that the benefits of wearing one outweigh the risks. In addition, you can take steps to prevent or significantly reduce the risk of a seat belt injury.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorists should keep the following seat belt-related safety tips in mind:

  • Ensure the shoulder belt is placed across the middle of your chest and away from your neck.
  • The lap belt should be placed firmly across your hips and below your stomach.
  • Do not move the shoulder strap behind your back or under your arm simply because it is more comfortable.
  • Never secure the seat belt too tightly or so loose that you can move around in your seat.

Contact Our Bibb County Car Accident Lawyers at Childers & McCain, LLC Today

If you suffered an injury in a wreck, speak with our Bibb County car accident lawyers at Childers & McCain, LLC. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 478-254-2007 or complete our online form. Located in Macon, Georgia, we serve clients in Savannah, Albany, and Atlanta.

The Help You Need Can Be Found at Childers & McCain

Facing the aftermath of a serious accident can be overwhelming. Before you speak with the insurance companies, make sure you schedule a free consultation with the Macon personal injury lawyers at Childers & McCain. We can protect your rights while anticipating the insurance company’s tactics to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve. You don’t have to navigate this tough road alone – let our team of professionals help you move forward.

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