There’s no question about it: Seat belts do save lives. In addition to saving hundreds of thousands of lives over the years since they first started appearing in vehicles, seat belts also prevent or lessen a lot of injuries.
They can also cause them. “Seat belt syndrome” is a very real problem for many accident victims. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and your family in case of a wreck:
What is seat belt syndrome?
It’s a term that medical professionals use to describe injuries specifically caused by your car’s restraint system after a wreck. Typically, these are superficial wounds that appear across the victim’s abdomen (where the lap belt rides) and across the chest and one shoulder (where the shoulder strap rests).
While most people have little more than a few scrapes from the buckles and some painful bruises from the seat belt after a wreck, other people end up with serious internal injuries. Compression from the seat belt can damage the stomach, kidneys, colon, bowls and spine.
Aside from the bruises, signs that someone could have internal injuries from their seat belt include:
- Tingling or numbness in the lap area or legs
- Difficulty breathing and pain in the chest area
- Swelling in the abdomen or chest that increases
- Blood in the bowel movements or urine
- Dizziness or unexplained weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain between the hip and ribs on one side
The only signs that you or your loved one may have that they’re seriously injured are those initial bruises and a little stomach or chest pain. It’s important not to dismiss those injuries as insignificant or wait to see if they get better in a couple of days since prompt medical treatment can be critical to a victim’s chances of recovery.
If you’ve been involved in a crash, always remember that the fact that you were able to walk away in the immediate aftermath doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have serious injuries. Adrenaline can mask a lot. Find out more about your legal options for fair compensation today.