Seat belts save lives according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). During 2016, the NHTSA estimates that 14,668 lives were saved because individuals were wearing seat belts during an automobile accident. An additional 2,456 lives might have been saved in 2016 had everyone buckled up when riding in a vehicle. Nearly one-half of the people who died in automobile crashes in 2016 were not wearing a safety belt.
However, seat belts can cause injuries in a car crash. Individuals involved in a car accident need to be aware of the common injuries caused by seat belts and the symptoms associated with seat belt injuries. If a seat belt injured you, you might be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries and damages.
Why Do Seat Belts Cause Injuries?
Seat belts are designed to restrain your body so that you are not thrown from a vehicle during a collision. In addition, a seat belt should tighten during a crash to prevent your body from striking the steering wheel, dashboard, or window. However, some seat belts are defective and do not function correctly during an accident. The belt may not tighten, causing you to be thrown from the vehicle or collide with an object. In other cases, the safety belt may release during a crash or become too tight causing additional injury.
In other cases, a seat belt can cause an injury even though the safety belt functions correctly. Some injuries, including seat belt syndrome, are common injuries associated with the proper use of a seat belt. Accident victims need to report all symptoms they experience after a car crash to their physician so that the physician can check for seat belt injuries. Also, victims should continue to question physicians and seek other opinions if they continue to experience unexplained symptoms after a car accident.
Common Seat Belt Injuries Sustained in a Car Accident
Some of the common seat belt injuries that victims sustain in a car accident include:
- Seat Belt Syndrome
A common, and often missed, seat belt injury occurs when abdominal organs are damaged during a collision. Seat belt syndrome can cause traumatic injuries that can be life-threatening or cause permanent impairments. Bruising and abdominal pain are common symptoms of seat belt syndrome.
- Rib Fractures
Seat belts can often cause rib fractures because of the force exerted by the seat belt upon impact. Fractures ribs are extremely painful and may result in punctured lungs if not treated.
- Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries are also common safety belt injuries. The shoulder strap of the safety belt can tear or pull tendons and muscles in the shoulder, causing chronic pain and limited range of motion. Some victims require long-term physical therapy to regain motion and reduce pain.
- Chest Injuries
Blunt chest trauma is a very common safety belt injury during a car crash. The impact of the crash causes the belt to pull quickly and tighten across the person’s chest. The force of the safety belt tightening causing the sternum to be fractured.
When the safety belt locks, a person can be trapped in the vehicle. In some cases, entrapment can result in serious burns or death if the person cannot escape the vehicle.
Symptoms of Seat Belt Injuries After a Car Accident
The symptoms of seat belt injuries vary depending on the exact injury and the severity of the injury. The best practice is to report any symptoms to your physician and request a complete physical and diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the symptoms.
Common symptoms that are associated with various seat belt injuries include:
- Bruising across the chest or abdomen
- Tenderness or pain in the chest, abdomen, neck, shoulders, or arms
- Difficulty breathing when lying down or moving your arms
- Stiffness when moving or limited range of motion
- Changes in the ability to urinate or move the bowels, including blood in stools or urine
- Leg weakness could indicate spinal nerve damage and injuries to the lower back and abdomen
- Neck stiffness and pain may indicate whiplash and other cervical spine injuries
- Weakness and dizziness may indicate internal bleeding
If you are injured in an accident, our Maryland seat belt attorneys can help you file a claim to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. Seat belt injury claims can be challenging.
Our lawyers and legal staff investigate the cause of your injuries to determine the party or parties who may be liable for your damages. We work closely with industry professionals who are experts in the field of seat belt injuries to obtain the evidence we need to prove your injuries were a result of the crash or a defective seat belt.
Contact Our Maryland Seat Belt Injury Attorneys Now
For your free consultation with a Parkville seat belt attorney, contact Pinder Plotkin LLC by calling 410-661-9440.