Wearing your seat belt while driving or riding in a vehicle is not only a legal requirement but also a life-saving practice.
However, while a belt restraint system will prevent ejection during an auto accident and save your life, it can cause significant injuries of its own.
1. Rib fractures
When the car you are occupying stops suddenly, your body hits the seat belt with extreme force. Because of the placement of the safety device across your torso, this impact can cause bruises or fractures to your ribs. Untreated rib injuries can be dangerous due to possible bone fragments damaging surrounding internal organs.
2. Lacerations and abrasions
Seat belt material must be rough and tough to withstand years of constant use. However, upon impact, the abrasive textile can cause serious cuts, scrapes and bruises to your skin. In the days and weeks after an accident, these injuries can leave you with intense pain as well as visible marks and scars on your body.
3. Shoulder injuries
The force of your upper body engaging with a properly placed seat belt during a wreck can lead to significant soft tissue damage in your shoulder. Tendon tears and ripped muscle fibers can leave you in serious discomfort. Additionally, you may suffer from lost wages if you cannot work due to physical restrictions.
If you suffer a seat belt injury as a result of a car crash, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible and follow up with your treatment provider periodically to monitor long-term effects.