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Seatbelt syndrome: What you need to know

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

There are a lot of people alive today who still remember when seatbelts didn’t come “standard,” but they’re one of the most effective safety features ever added to modern vehicles. They do, very effectively, save lives.

However, seatbelts can also be the source of injuries. “Seatbelt syndrome” refers to a pattern of injuries that are seen after someone in a crash experiences the force of a seatbelt’s sudden restraint during a wreck. When that seatbelt suddenly snaps into place and goes rigid against a human body that’s still trying to move forward, damage can happen.

What are the most common injuries associated with seatbelts?

The most common injuries associated with seatbelt syndrome involve the chest, abdomen, and spine.

  • Contusions and abrasions: Superficial injuries, such as bruises and abrasions, can occur due to the force of the seatbelt against the body.
  • Rib fractures: The chest restraint from the seatbelt can lead to rib fractures, especially in high-impact collisions.
  • Internal organ injuries: The force of the seatbelt can cause injuries to internal organs, such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys, even without direct impact.
  • Spinal injuries: The sudden jerking motion from the seatbelt can contribute to spinal injuries, particularly in the cervical and lumbar regions.

It’s important to understand that the injuries someone suffers due to seatbelt syndrome aren’t usually due to any defective design in the seatbelt (although that is possible). It’s just the force of the collision and the counterforce exerted by the seatbelt as it stops your body from flying through the air that causes the problem. The real culprit is whoever caused the wreck in the first place. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, seeking experienced legal guidance is the best way to protect your interests.