Seatbelt Injuries in a Car Accident
April 20, 2021
If there is one mantra that we have all heard over and over again throughout the years, it is that seatbelts save lives. This is true, and we have plenty of statistics from independent and government sources that back this statement up. However, this does not necessarily mean that a person will walk away from a crash injury-free. In fact, seatbelts can actually cause injuries of their own when a collision occurs. Here, we want to discuss what types of injuries are most commonly caused by seatbelts in a car accident.
How Does a Seatbelt Cause Injuries?
The average passenger vehicle weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. When two of these heavy vehicles collide, it is inevitable that the occupants will experience some sort of exertional force on their bodies. Of course, the total effect of a vehicle accident depends on several factors, including the speed of the vehicles at the time the incident occurs.
While we know that seatbelts can prevent life-threatening injuries, we also know that seatbelts can cause injuries of their own. When a seatbelt is properly fastened and functioning properly, it will tighten up when a collision occurs and hold a person in place. Unfortunately, this could cause acute injuries and pain along with the ribs, shoulder, chest, abdomen, and outer skin.
Some of the most common types of injuries that can occur that are caused by or exasperated by seatbelts include the following:
- Bone fractures
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Intestinal injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
Can Seatbelt Injuries be Prevented?
There are various steps that vehicle occupants can take to help prevent seatbelt injuries. However, please understand that there may be no way to prevent a seatbelt injury in the event a serious collision occurs, but these safety devices still should be worn to prevent serious injuries from occurring.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we can see that the following recommendations could help prevent seriously belt injuries:
- Ensuring that the shoulder belt is placed across the middle of a person’s chest and away from the neck.
- Making sure the lap belt is firmly across the hips and below the stomach.
- Not placing the shoulder strap behind the back or under the arm, particularly if this is just to prevent discomfort.
- Not allowing the seatbelt to be uncomfortably tight.
- Not allowing the seatbelt to be so loose that the occupant can move freely in the seat.
What About Defective Seatbelts?
There are some cases where seatbelts become defective, whether due to a design flaw or a manufacturing error. When a seatbelt is defective, this could prevent it from performing as expected. Defective seatbelts could lead to vehicle occupants sustaining severe injuries in the event a collision occurs.
When a defective seatbelt causes an injury, these claims will likely become product liability issues. This can become confusing, particularly if a person is dealing with a car accident claim at the same time. If you or a loved one have been injured due to a defective seatbelt, you need to speak to a skilled Orange County car accident lawyer who has experience handling product liability lawsuits as well as vehicle accident claims.
The job of an attorney will be to use their resources and investigate every aspect of the vehicle accident claim. This will include the initial cause of the accident as well as any seatbelt issues that may have occurred to cause further harm. An attorney will be responsible for handling all communication with other parties involved in an effort to negotiate a fair settlement on behalf of their client. This can include recovering compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering damages, and more.