In the event of an auto accident, your seatbelt is a key form of protection against severe injury and death. When worn properly, these harnesses reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%,. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that seatbelts can also cause serious internal injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of seatbelt syndrome.
What Is Seatbelt Syndrome?
During an accident, seatbelts tighten up to keep a rider secure in the vehicle. This safety measure prevents passengers being thrown from the car but also exerts force against the body. Anywhere along the chest, neck, stomach, and shoulders can receive blunt force trauma and sustain injuries from the seatbelt in a car accident.
What Are the Symptoms of Seatbelt Syndrome?
Seatbelt syndrome injuries can surface days or even weeks after the actual impact. Internal damage may not begin to show symptoms until after treatment. This could lead to further medical issues such as:
- Abdomen Injury – The seatbelt keeps passengers in a car by exerting a sharp and forceful restraint. Because the abdomen area is home to organs like the spleen and kidneys, blunt force could bruise, strain, or even rupture them. Though the impact may be mild, trauma to a delicate organ could lead to worrisome complications, such as infection, hypertension, or even organ failure.
- Neck pain – Commonly known as whiplash, these delayed injuries to the soft tissues of the shoulder and neck area are caused by a sudden jerking motion of the head in one direction and then another opposite direction. This trauma can display itself in the form of weakness, stiffness, severe headaches, a decrease in range of motion, or even a ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
- Breathing Problems – With the seatbelt tight against the chest, any sudden impact or accident could potentially cause injury to the ribs, lungs, or throat..
- General Weakness – Traumatic injuries caused by a car collision can impact the nervous system in a variety of ways. A seatbelt can deal direct damage to nerves in the spine, arms, neck, lower back, or legs. Delayed and unusual weakness, tingling, numbness, or shooting pains in the extremities are symptoms that should not be ignored.
Seatbelts are a tried and tested way to stay safer in the event of a car crash. However, the nature of these restraint systems can also sometimes cause additional injuries. If you or a loved one suffered seatbelt syndrome in a car accident and believe someone else’s negligence contributed to the injury or a worsened condition, the attorneys at Cline Farrell Christie & Lee want to help you move forward in life with peace of mind. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. If you are an injured person in need of legal representation in Indiana, contact us today to discuss the specifics of your situation free of charge.