Since you were little, you have been told how important it is to wear your seatbelt. This is true. Seatbelts save lives every day.
However, there are situations where this life-saving feature in your vehicle can cause injuries. Even though the benefits of wearing a seatbelt outweigh the risks, you should understand what injuries may occur while wearing a seatbelt (and caused by the seatbelt) if you are involved in an accident.
Soft tissue injuries
A common seatbelt-related injury is soft tissue damage. The force exerted by a seatbelt during a sudden deceleration can strain or tear muscles, ligaments and tendons. These injuries may appear as bruising, contusions or sprains. Depending on their severity, they may require medical attention and rehabilitation.
Rib and chest injuries
The strong force of a seatbelt restraining the upper body can lead to rib fractures or chest injuries. While the seatbelt prevents you from being thrown forward, it can cause compression on the chest. If the force is strong enough, it may lead to bruised or broken ribs. Severe cases may lead to lung or heart injuries, necessitating immediate medical intervention.
Abdominal and chest injuries
When worn incorrectly, the lap portion of a seatbelt can exert significant pressure on the abdomen during a collision. This can result in abdominal injuries such as organ damage, internal bleeding or lacerations. These injuries may require surgery to repair and can have long-term consequences.
It is important to understand the risk of these injuries should not deter anyone from wearing a seatbelt. Seatbelts save lives and prevent more severe injuries. While this is true, there are steps you can take to prevent seatbelt-related injuries. One is to wear the seatbelt correctly. It is also necessary to adjust the seat and headrest properly and ensure that passengers, especially children, are appropriately restrained.
If you are involved in an accident caused by someone else and experience a seatbelt injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Knowing your legal rights can help you know what steps to take in this situation.