Seat belts are a key safety device in any vehicle. They prevent drivers and passengers from getting ejected from a car during a crash. By keeping you restrained, they also reduce the severity of impact and, in turn, decrease the severity of injuries you might suffer. According to estimates, seat belt usage could have prevented close to 80 percent of car accident fatalities.
Seat belts must be rigid and strong to perform their function effectively, but the strength of a seat belt can sometimes be a disadvantage. During an impact, accident victims sometimes slam against their seatbelts with enough force to cause bodily harm.
Seat belt injuries are by far less severe than those recorded in unrestrained drivers. However, they can still be brutal. If you experience chest pain after car accident seat belt, talk to a Houston Car Accident Attorney about seeking damages for your injuries.
SEAT BELT SYNDROME
During a car accident, the abrupt stop and impact with the seat belt can cause a combination of external and internal injuries. This unique collection of symptoms is referred to as seat belt syndrome. Seat belt syndrome often presents as pain, discomfort, or bruising in the chest and abdomen area. These symptoms can be indicative of abrasions, fractures, muscle injury, or internal organ damage.
- Skin Abrasions – These injuries are noticeable and tend to appear diagonally across the abdomen and chest. They can be superficial scrapes or signs of internal injuries.
- Fractures – Vulnerable bones include the ribs, spine, and sternum. If left untreated, bone fractures in the chest area can puncture internal organs leading to internal bleeding and other complications.
- Muscle Injury – Trauma from seat belt impact can tear or pull the muscles and tendons in your chest. This can cause soreness and reduced mobility.
- Internal organ damage – This chest injury can be fatal. The organs at risk are vital to your body and usually include the lungs, heart, and spine.
The most tell-tale sign of seat belt syndrome is the noticeable, seatbelt-shaped bruising that appears across the chest and abdomen. This should be a clear sign that you need medical help immediately. Sometimes, however, the symptoms are subtler.
You might experience soreness in the chest when you breathe or move, for example. Other symptoms to watch out for include:
- Vomiting or coughing blood
- Painful or labored breathing
- Weakness or dizziness, which could indicate internal bleeding
- Leg weakness, which might be caused by spine injuries.
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Reduced upper body mobility
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU EXPERIENCE CHEST PAIN?
Car accident victims are advised to see a doctor immediately after the crash. This is regardless of whether you are experiencing symptoms or feeling okay. Similarly, you should never underplay chest pain after car accident seat belt. An evaluation might uncover a condition that could be treated before it worsens.
GET HELP FROM A HOUSTON CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Seat belts are designed to protect vehicle users. This, combined with the delayed symptoms common to seat belt injuries, can deter victims from seeking help. They might suffer in silence for weeks or months after the accident. Doing this can harm them physically and reduces their chances of a successful claim.
After a crash, immediately discuss any chest pain after car accident seat belt with your doctor and an attorney. If you don’t already have a lawyer, contact Husain Law + Associates, P.C. to set up an appointment with a Houston Car Accident Attorney.