Seatbelt Injuries That Can Occur During A Car Accident

Most crash-related deaths in the US occur to vehicle passenger occupants. In 2014, over 21,000 died, with more than half accounting for those who were unrestrained during the time of crash. While wearing a seat belt is proven to save lives, sometimes it can cause physical injuries to the wearer. A seat belt increases the safety factor of both passengers and drivers involved in a car crash. Rarely could the seat belt itself cause injuries, but it does happen. If you or a loved one gets involved in a crash, know that a good personal injury attorney can provide you with more information, see to it that your legal rights are protected, and guide you all the way. Here’s how seatbelt injuries may occur:

Seat Belt Injuries

A seat belt works by restraining the user to his or her place securely during a crash or an accident. The nature of the seat belt prevents any type of injury as long as it works as intended, but there are times when a seat belt malfunction happens. Tight restraints, improper belt placement and how the crash occurred and its severity can complicate matters, resulting in a seat belt injury.

Hiring an attorney will prove to be your best resource if you or a loved one becomes injured in a car crash involving seat belts. It will certainly help you in your claims if you decide to pursue the matter in a legal course.

Seat Belt Injury Types

The most common form of seat belt injuries are scrapes and bruising from the belt restraints, depending on how severe the auto accident was. Lap belts in particular could cause internal injuries to the spinal cord and the abdomen area. Shoulder belts could cause injuries to the sternum, the neck and the shoulders. Perhaps the most damaging types of seat belt injuries are the following:

– intestinal injuries

– spine injuries

– internal bleeding

– dislocations

– fractures

How To Wear Your Seat Belt Properly

One way you can minimize the chances of seat belt injuries occurring is through proper seat belt placement. According to the NHTSA, the lap belt must be put across the hips and below the stomach. The shoulder belt must be across your chest’s middle and away from your neck. Don’t put on the belt too tightly or too loosely. The occupant should be secured while not being too restricted.

Legal Issues Involving Seat Belt Injuries

Insufficient Seat Belts. Some automobile manufacturers only install lap seat belts in their vehicles, which could result in a lawsuit following a car crash or collision. The insufficiency of a lap belt and the absence of a shoulder seat belt could make the passengers and driver more susceptible to serious injuries as compared to drivers and passengers secured by both lap and shoulder safety seat belts.

Defective Seat Belts. Numerous seat belt injury cases are the result of a defective seat belt, wherein the seat belt system malfunctions during the time of the car crash. In specific terms, the seat belt failed to perform as expected due to an inherent flaw in the seat belt’s design or in the manufacturing process itself.

Some examples include defective tension detectors and/or a defective latch. A defective latch could unintentionally release the seat belt lock in the car’s impact and through force of angle. Defective tension detectors may fail to properly cause slack in the belt or keep it taut and secure once any the slack is removed.

In cases where the seat belt malfunctions or a manufacturer defect is proven, the driver and all passengers may pursue legal action and file for a products liability claim. Those that are liable include the seat belt distributor, the supplier, retailer and manufacturer. The automobile company from where the seat belt was installed could be filed for claims as well.