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Common Seat Belt Injuries From Car Accidents

man buckles seat belt inside passenger seat of car.

Lawyers representing car accident injury victims in OH, PA, and WV explain

Seat belts save lives. Since 1975, seat belts have prevented an estimated 374,000 car accident fatalities that could have occurred if drivers or passengers had not been wearing safety restraints, according to the National Safety Council.

However, seat belts can result in severe injuries in certain types of car accidents. When this happens, such injuries are often referred to as seat belt syndrome. So what exactly is seat belt syndrome? What types of injuries are often involved? And what options are available for injury victims?

Our experienced car accident attorneys at Recht Law Offices can answer all these questions. That's because our lawyers have been helping injury victims in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio deal with the aftermath of serious collisions in all three states for years.

What is seat belt syndrome?

Many common injuries associated with car accident seat belts are collectively known as seat belt syndrome. According to a medical study published by the National Library of Medicine, seat belt syndrome refers to internal injuries involving the neck, chest, and abdomen. Specific seat belt syndrome injuries often include:

  • Spinal cord injuries, especially in the upper part of the spine near the neck.
  • Organ damage, including injuries involving the kidneys, liver, or intestines.
  • Thoracic injuries, which often involve injuries to the lower spine.
  • Bone fractures, especially in the rib cage, neck, or chest.

In most cases, seat belt syndrome injuries occur even when a vehicle's seat belt is functioning properly. However, in some cases, many seat belt injuries occur due to defective or malfunctioning seat belts that don't work properly.

Warning signs of seat belt injuries

See a doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms often associated with seat belt syndrome injuries:

  • Bruising on the body where the seat belt came in contact.
  • Bloating in the stomach or abdomen.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • Pain when moving the neck, back, or other body parts.

Medical treatment for seat belt injuries

Many medical procedures exist depending on the type of seat belt injury sustained in an accident. First, doctors need to diagnose what's wrong. Doctors often start by observing a patient's breathing and vital signs. Doctors also often perform medical imaging tests such as X-Rays, MRIs, or CT scans to diagnose if someone has an internal injury caused by a seat belt.

Once a seat belt injury has been diagnosed, medical treatments can range from emergency surgery (especially if there's organ damage or internal bleeding) to resting at home or prescribing pain medications.

Who's responsible for paying for such injuries?

Different states have different car accident insurance systems. For example, many states, including West Virginia and Ohio, have an at-fault car insurance system. This means the at-fault party is responsible for compensating injury victims for their accident-related expenses.

Other states, including Pennsylvania, have a form of no-fault car insurance. This often means injury victims obtain financial compensation from their insurance company, regardless of who was at fault.

However, that's often just the starting point, especially if injury-related expenses exceed someone's car insurance policy. In such circumstances, injury victims in no-fault states often need to pursue an injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company.

How a car accident lawyer can help

Injury claims from serious and fatal car accidents can quickly become complicated legal cases. This is why it's crucial that you have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side who can protect your rights and aggressively advocate for your best interests.

We know what's at stake at Recht Law Offices. That's because our car accident attorneys have been helping injury victims demand the money they deserve for over 70 years. Founded in 1952, our law firm has the knowledge and the experience you need when it matters most.

Learn more about your legal rights. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer you can trust to fight for you. We have offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Weirton, West Virginia, and handle cases in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. In addition, we accept injury claims on a contingency fee basis. That means you only have to pay us if we secure a financial settlement or verdict for you. Call now. We can help.

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