Seatbelts are one of the most basic – and most important – safety features in modern vehicles. They’re very effective at reducing the severity of injuries in a collision.
Unfortunately, seatbelts can also cause injuries in a wreck, and those injuries aren’t always immediately obvious.
What are the warning signs of a serious seatbelt injury?
When a car accident happens, your vehicle comes to an abrupt stop – but you don’t. Your seatbelt has to catch you to keep you from being propelled forward and into the dashboard, the windshield or the seats in front of you. However, the force exerted on your body when that happens can be significant. It’s not uncommon to end up with bruises and abrasions from the seatbelt itself, particularly when the crash is severe.
While uncomfortable, bruises aren’t a big cause for concern, but they may be the only visible clue that you have internal injuries. You could have a damaged liver, a bruised heart, injuries to your spine or other hidden wounds to your organs. You need to be wary of:
- Chest pain: This can range from mild discomfort to severe pain.
- Rib fractures: Breathing and moving may exacerbate this pain.
- Abdominal pain: Pain and tenderness in this area may be an indication of damage to internal organs such as the liver, spleen or intestines.
- Difficulty breathing: Breathing issues may be caused by chest trauma.
- Nausea or vomiting: If there is injury to internal organs, you may soon develop problems holding down food and water.
- Swelling: Swelling in the chest or abdominal area can be a sign of internal bleeding.
In any situation where there might be internal injuries, time is of the essence. If you have any of the above signs (or simply feel that something might be wrong), seek immediate medical evaluation. Without prompt medical care, your life could be in danger.
If you’ve been injured in a wreck due to another driver’s negligent or reckless behavior, you may experience significant trauma, pain and financial losses. You have every right to ask for fair compensation for your losses. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start.