Most people recognize the importance of seatbelts. Restraints should prevent severe injuries while in a vehicle.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information cites an NHTSA study that claims seatbelts reduce fatal injuries by over 40%. In some instances, however, seatbelts can cause injury.
What are the types of seatbelt injuries?
Seatbelt injuries can occur when worn properly and particularly when worn improperly. For example, if your seatbelt rests on your neck and above your pelvis, you will more likely experience serious injuries. The force transmits to softer, more vulnerable areas.
After an accident, you may suffer from mild symptoms such as skin abrasions and bruises. You may also have internal injuries, such as injuries to your bowel or fractures on your spine. Your spleen, liver, kidneys and other organs may also suffer damage during the accident. With a seatbelt against your neck, you could face vascular injuries.
What are the likely outcomes?
Every seatbelt injury has a different prognosis. If you suffer a spinal injury, vascular or internal injury, physicians may admit you to a trauma center. On the other hand, minor injuries, such as injuries to the sternum, soft tissues or ribs may only require outpatient treatment and pain management.
When you suffer a spinal cord injury, the likelihood of permanent disability increases. A vascular injury, particularly to the carotid artery can cause neurological damage and end in long-term disability. Likewise, if you suffer an injury to your bowel, you may face disability. Severe morbidity is most common when doctors do not detect a bowel injury early enough.
While seatbelts can cause injuries, said injuries may still be the fault of another driver.