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What is seat belt syndrome?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2022 | car accidents

Even though not everybody likes to use them, seat belts save thousands of lives every year and prevent even more injuries.

However, that doesn’t mean that seat belts are perfect. Even when used exactly the way that they’re intended, the combination of the jolt from the impact with another vehicle (especially one that comes from behind) and the sudden tightening of the belt across your body can lead to something called “seat belt syndrome.”

It can be a sign of critical internal injuries

Seat belt syndrome is usually detected during a post-crash medical exam. Victims typically have bruising and redness across their abdomen where the lap belt rested and another, diagonal, line of abrasions across their chest where the seat belt’s strap rested.

If you’re lucky, some pain and stiffness are the only problems you’ll have. If you’re not, you may have internal injuries that you don’t even realize (at first) are serious. Because of where the seat belt rests on your body, you can essentially suffer a crushing injury in the wreck that damages your heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spine and small intestine.

Shortly after the adrenaline wears off, you may experience:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder
  • Blood in your vomit, urine or stool
  • Weakness or tingling in your legs
  • Breathlessness or trouble breathing
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Swelling in the abdominal area
  • Problems moving your legs

Any one of these could be a major medical problem that simply cannot afford to wait. That’s why it’s vital that you seek immediate attention at an emergency room or doctor’s office if you have any pain or bruising from your seat belt.

Car wrecks aren’t something you can predict, and nobody is really ever fully prepared for the aftermath of one. If you’ve been injured, it may be time to find out more about what it takes to get fair compensation for your claim.