Seat Belt Injuries
The three-point seat belt that we use today was designed by Nils Bohlin in 1958. Lap belts were used for years before, but it was this three-point design that offered the most safety during crashes. It secures both the upper and lower bodies when a vehicle collides with another vehicle or object. Seat belts have been legally required in vehicles since 1966, and around the same time, seat belt laws requiring certain drivers and passengers to wear them went into effect. At this point, seat belts are estimated to have saved millions of lives.
However, though seat belts are life-saving, they also can be partly to blame for injuries in a crash. If you or a loved one were in a collision, you may have suffered injuries that were specifically related to the placement of your seat belt. These injuries may be moderate, such as painful bruising that heals over a few weeks, or they may be serious and require medical treatment. In either case, you should speak with our Miami seat belt injury lawyers from Gerson & Schwartz P.A. at (877) 475-2905. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.Common Seat Belt Injuries
Seat belts are intended to keep your body in place in the event of a crash. However, that means when a significant force is exerted on your vehicle and your body, your body is then forced against the immovable seat belts. That strain between your body at the belt and can lead to superficial and internal injuries.
At Gerson & Schwartz P.A., we have handled cases involving:
- Bruising: The force of your body against the lap and shoulder belt is likely to cause bruising, which can be tender, painful, and uncomfortable for days or weeks after the crash. If the seat belt is not worn correctly, your weight will not be evenly distributed against the lap and shoulder belts and bruising can be much worse in certain areas.
- Collarbone Fractures: When the shoulder belt portion of a seat belt is position correctly, the force of an accident should be distributed between your shoulder and collarbone. However, if the shoulder belt is improperly positioned or slips during the crash, the force can be too much for your collarbone and cause it to break.
- Rib Fractures: Depending on the severity of the crash, a seat belt can bruise or break one or more of your ribs. In extreme cases, a fracture rip can interfere with your internal organs, such as puncturing a lung.
- Broken Sternum: Your sternum is the bone in the middle of your chest that is attached to your ribs. In severe crashes, the shoulder belt can fracture your sternum. If you feel any chest pain after a crash, you need to tell a paramedic or doctor right away. The sternum protects your heart and lungs, and if it suffers an injury, you could have injury to an organ as well.
- Shoulder Injuries: A seat belt is unlikely to cause a fracture or dislocation in your shoulder. However, it can cause soft tissue injuries. A muscle, tendon, or ligament may be over stretched or torn in a car crash.
- Abdomen Injuries: A lap belt should be placed across the top of your thighs and hip bones and not on your stomach. However, if the lap belt were placed improperly or moved during the crash, then your abdomen may strain across the belt causing internal injuries. A common internal injury is perforations of the small bowel.
- Spinal Injuries: In severe car crashes, the lap belt can cause injuries to the spine, including vertebrae fractures.
If you were diagnosed with one or more injuries after a car crash, and any of these injuries were related to the seat belt, call a seat belt injuries lawyer in Miami for help with your auto insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.Seat Belt Syndrome
After a car crash, you may be diagnosed with what is known as seat belt syndrome. This is an umbrella term for a wide range of injuries associated with wearing a seat belt during a crash. These injuries include seat belt markings on the body, internal abdomen organ injuries, vertebrae fractures, and occasionally, the breaking apart or rupturing of the abdominal wall musculature.
When you are suffering from seat belt syndrome after a serious car crash, we recommend contacting our seat belt injuries attorneys in Miami at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. right away. You should not talk with the at-fault driver’s insurance company until you have obtained experienced legal representation.Pursuing Compensation After a Seat Belt Injuries
After being hurt in a car crash and suffering injuries, you should speak with an experienced car accident attorney. Our lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. have decades of experience handling car accident claims. We begin by thoroughly investigating the crash. This means we gather and analyze all of the evidence available, including photos and videos, the police report, and eye witness testimony. When we have determined there is evidence of another party’s fault and liability, then we pursue compensation for your injuries through an insurance claim, and in some circumstances, a personal injury lawsuit.
When another driver’s negligence causes you seat belt injuries in a crash, you may have the right to obtain compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduced earning potential
- Reduce quality of life
If you or a loved one suffered seat belt injuries in a crash that was another person’s fault, do not hesitate to call our bilingual attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. (305) 371-6000. You can also reach out through our online form to schedule a free consultation.