The seat belt is a standard safety equipment inside all vehicles in the United States today. When the seat belt was first introduced to the motor vehicle, the device consisted of a two-point restraint system with only the lap belt component. The system has been improved with the shoulder harness that created a three-point restraint system that typically is used in modern vehicles.
Many studies have shown that seat belt usage has dramatically reduced fatalities in car accidents. This is obviously great news; however, while the fatalities in car accidents have been reduced, injuries, particularly cervical spine injuries, have increased directly from the usage of a seat belt.
The most common injuries caused by a seat belt restraint in a car accident can range from bruising and minor lacerations to traumatic brain injuries. Victims in a car accident often report superficial skin and bruising injuries to the abdominal and abdominal musculature as well as across the shoulder and neck.
A severe and potentially fatal neck injury from the shoulder harness of the seat belt is a laryngotracheal injury. This is caused by blunt force trauma to the sternum and neck from the restraint and the hyperextension of the head and neck generally from a rear-end collision. This “whiplash” effect has the capacity to damage the larynx and trachea restricting the air pathway causing strangulation to the person.
Spine injuries can occur from the neck all the way to the low back. These result from the extreme and sudden extension and distraction caused from the force of the impact and the immediate restraint of the seat belt. Spinal injuries can range from neck and back sprains to bulging discs, to herniated discs to fractures to the vertebrae.
Seat belts can also cause bone fractures to the ribs, sternum, and collar bone and in rare occasions to the pelvic bones.
Seat belts have certainly saved lives as they were intended to, and we strongly encourage continued and constant usage of the seat. But, if you have suffered injury from the seat belt as a direct result of a motor vehicle collision, do not hesitate to reach out to The Mark Casto Law Firm. Our experience and understanding of these injuries and the causes behind them uniquely qualify us to protect your best interests and maximize your recovery.
Contact us today at (706) 940-4002 for a free initial consultation. Get a firm with more than two decades of legal experience on your side!