When Can Seatbelts Cause Injury?
Safety measures like seatbelts and airbags are essential components in a vehicle and substantially reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury. However, these safety features can also lead to injury, especially in a high-speed crash. If you sustained injuries in a car accident from a seatbelt, you may be able to pursue compensation from an at-fault driver.
Possible Injuries from Seatbelts
There are several ways in which a seatbelt can cause injuries. These include:
- Injuries to your ribs or back. The force of a seatbelt cutting into you can create bruising to your ribs. In high impact collisions, this can even lead to rib fracture. Fractured ribs can puncture your lungs and lead to pneumothorax, a medical emergency.
- Internal organ damage. In high impact collisions, seat belts can bruise the internal organs in your abdominal area.
- Shoulder injuries. Seatbelts used to be only a lap belt until we discovered that the shoulder belt can help reduce the risk of serious injury. The force of an impact can cause bruising or soft tissue damage to your shoulders.
- Head or neck injuries. The shoulder portion of the belt helps stabilize your torso and slow in an accident. If you flip the shoulder portion of the belt behind you and get into an accident, your head could strike the steering wheel, which could lead to a serious head injury.
The Cost of Not Buckling Up
Don’t look at these injuries and decide not to buckle up – in fact, not wearing a seat belt has much more disastrous consequences. The injuries from wearing a seatbelt are much less severe than those that occur without seatbelt use. Drivers and passengers who neglect to wear their seatbelts are much more likely to experience permanently disabling or fatal injury from ejection from the vehicle.
The reasons people cite for not wearing a seatbelt would surprise you. Some people think that wearing a seat belt is simply uncomfortable, but this isn’t the case for modern cars. Others think that airbags will effectively protect them from a car accident – this simply isn’t true. Airbags and seatbelts work together to prevent injury in car accidents – having an airbag deploy without a seatbelt can lead to fatal injury, as airbags deploy with great force and you have greater forward momentum following a crash without a restraint.
Finally, others neglect seatbelt use because they think their careful driving will save them from an accident. Unfortunately, there’s no way to account for the actions of others on the road. Even if you’re the best driver in the world, you could still end up sharing the road with a drunk, distracted, or careless driver. Wearing a seatbelt can help protect you from serious injuries due to another driver’s negligence.
Thankfully, the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 84% of Americans buckle up. This is the simplest way to protect yourself from permanently disabling or fatal injuries – seatbelt injuries, while possible, pale in comparison to the possible consequences of not buckling up.
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