Seat Belt Injuries in Traffic Accidents

Traffic Accidents Resulting in Seat Belt Injuries

Seat belt injuries can occur in traffic collisions, and some can be serious if the accident happens at a higher speed. Although seat belts save many lives each year by preventing serious head injuries and ejection from a vehicle, they can cause surprising damage. In a motor vehicle collision, those who are injured by a seat belt can place a claim for damages if the accident was caused by another’s negligence.

Wearing a Seat Belt Correctly

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, incorrect placement of a seat belt can increase the risk of serious injuries, particularly in a high-speed crash. Knowing how to place your seat belt is important to avoid this added risk. The lap portion of the restraint must be placed snugly across the upper portion of the hips. It should never be resting across the individual’s abdomen. The shoulder restraint must be across the chest and shoulder to avoid seat belt injuries. By having it rest across the neck, face or underneath the arm, it increases the risk of seat belt injuries. Adjusting the seat belt for a proper fit helps ensure maximum safety.

Injuries Caused by Seat Belts

Seat belt syndrome refers to injuries caused by the restraint in a motor vehicle crash. The extent of seat belt injuries depends on the speed of the vehicle on impact. Obviously, the faster the speed, the worse the injuries can be. Bruising and skin abrasions are common. Common internal injuries can include damage to the mesentery, which attaches the organs to the wall of the abdomen, and bowel damage. The other visceral organs may also suffer damage such as the kidneys and pancreas. Lumbar spine fractures occur due to seat belt injuries also.

If the seat belt is too close to the neck area, fractures of the collarbone or cervical spine can occur, as well as vascular damage. In the thoracic area, which is behind the chest, injuries may include contusions of the lung, fractured ribs and the rare contusion of the heart.       

Excuses for Not Wearing a Seat Belt

People come up with all types of reasons for not wearing a seat belt. However, seat belts are proven to save lives, and you are always safer wearing one. Some of the reasons given for not buckling up include:

  • I’m a good driver: Even though you probably are, others around you aren’t.
  • They make me uncomfortable: They are adjustable. Just make sure they are tight enough to do the job.
  • The car has airbags for protection: Airbags are not enough protection by themselves. However, they increase the efficiency of seat belts by about 40 percent.
  • I can brace myself if an accident happens: People who think this is a good idea end up with arm and knee fractures or end up going through the windshield — not a good idea.
  • I could end up trapped in my car: Being ejected means you have a high probability of becoming a fatality.

Advice After an Accident

An experienced injury lawyer can help by answering your questions and advising you on whether you have a case following an accident. By dealing with the insurance company for you or taking the case to court, it has been shown that you are more likely to obtain the compensation you need. Paying medical bills and losing wages because of an injury that was caused by a negligent driver should not fall on your shoulders. A negligent person or entity should be responsible for your personal injury damagesIf the seat belt is defective, the manufacturer can be held responsible for any injuries that resulted.

Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. Accident injuries can leave an individual with medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. When the accident happened due to negligence, the injured party can place a claim for financial compensation. Call me at (916) 921-6400 in the Sacramento area for free and friendly advice. You can also reach me at (800) 404-5400 or online at my website.

I’ve been an injury lawyer for 37 years, defending the rights of the injured to fair compensation. Areas of personal injury law that I cover include wrongful deaths, different varieties of car accidents and traumas such as brain injuries.

Having information about a law firm is a good way to help you decide who to phone. The following links are to client comments and some cases that my law firm has handled:

I’m honored to belong to a number of organizations. Two of them are the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, which recognizes lawyers who uphold legal excellence. Another is the Million Dollar Advocates, which is reserved for lawyers who’ve won more than $1 million for a client.

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