Seat Belt Bruise From Car Accident


Seat belt syndrome is common in car accidents and can have minor, severe, and life-threatening consequences. Seat belt bruising and injuries may factor into a car accident lawsuit. Contact the car accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm today to start a free case review. We’ve recovered over $1 billion for clients. Call us 24/7 at (800) 501-3011.

Car Accident Seat Belt Bruise and Injury

When worn correctly, seat belts limit the body’s movement during a crash, reducing the chances of more serious harm. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, using seat belts prevents severe injury and death in 49 percent of all accidents [1]. However, seat belt injuries play a big part in the aftermath of a car accident.

What Is Seat Belt Syndrome?

Seat belt syndrome is a combination of symptoms and injuries resulting from activating the safety apparatus, including a lap and chest harness. When the seat belt stretches, it reduces the impact force on the body[2].

Because of this, the safety harness puts pressure on the human form where restraint occurs. The marks frequently herald areas where the harness can cause seat belt injuries. However, bruises and abrasions are only the tip of the iceberg, and underlying injuries are worrisome.

The presence of seat belt marks may indicate areas of internal and other injuries below the restraint. It is essential to have the areas evaluated by a medical professional immediately after the crash. It is equally vital for the accident victim to mention any concurrent pain in the underlying areas.

Person putting seatbelt on

What Is the Reason for Seat Belt Injuries?

Seat belt injuries result from the pressure exerted on the body when the restraint stretches. This activation puts pressure on internal organs, muscles, tendons, and bones that lie underneath. It can cause significant symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal muscle pains
  • Dizziness from internal organ bleeding
  • Leg weakness can indicate back or abdominal injury
  • Bowel movement change
  • Changes in urination
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Difficulty breathing due to lung or heart damage
  • Blood in vomit could indicate stomach injury
  • Coughing up blood might be indicative of a lung injury
  • Pain below the posterior ribs or in the abdomen could be a harbinger of kidney damage

Injuries Associated With Seat Belt Syndrome

Injuries associated with seat belt syndrome are listed below:

  • Paralysis: This condition can result when nerves or spinal bones are injured. Losing mobility can have an enormous effect on a person’s daily life.
  • Soft tissue injuries: These occur when a seat belt cuts into the skin or rubs against it. Infections sometimes arise and require medical treatment to heal correctly.
  • Muscle injury: Muscles in the area under a seat belt can be injured. The seat belt commonly affects the abdominal, shoulder, and neck muscles.
  • Seat belt abdominal injuries: Lap belts are capable of causing significant injury. This can range from bruising to muscle tears and internal organ damage. Internal organ damage, such as perforation or rupture, can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical care.
  • Bleeding from abdominal organs: When this happens, the person may notice light-headedness, dizziness, and nausea. Slow blood loss can be deceiving [3], with many patients released from the emergency room and sent home. Patients should pay attention to symptoms and take their blood pressure frequently. See a medical professional for a proper assessment of your specific symptoms.
  • Rib fractures and bruising: Seatbelts can bruise, dislocate, and fracture ribs [4], especially in a medium to high-impact crash. This produces pain that is worse when coughing or taking a deep breath. There may be bruising and swelling over the injury site.
  • Sternum fracture: This occurs when the breastbone is impacted by the chest harness and confirmed by an X-ray.
  • Cardiac contusion: Heart bruising can occur due to seat belt pressure.
  • Lung injury: Injury to the lungs occurs when a fractured rib penetrates or bruises it. Deep breaths or coughing can make the pain worse.

Seat Belt Injury to Lower Abdomen

Seat belt injuries to the lower abdomen can range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the crash and the type of seat belt used. Injuries can include bruising, abrasions, lacerations, internal organ damage, fractures of the ribs and pelvis, and potentially more severe complications such as nerve or vascular damage.

Filing a Claim for Seat Belt Injury Compensation

There are several ways an injured party can claim compensation after suffering a seat belt injury:

  • Defective seat belts: To file a claim for injuries due to a defective product, you must prove that the seat belt mechanism itself caused the injury. That is to say; the seat belt applied excess force when reacting to the crash impact or some other anomaly. Your car accident attorney will inspect the security harnesses to prove fault.

In California, it is unnecessary to prove negligence as long as it is made clear that the defective seat belt was responsible for the injury. This lessens the burden on the plaintiff and helps to make it possible to resolve the defective auto claim successfully. However, the link between the defect and the injury should be clear, and no modifications to the system can exist.

  • Negligence: If the accident occurred due to another driver’s negligence, you might be able to file a lawsuit to reclaim damages. These include lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering. The deadline to file the claim is two years from when it occurred.
  • Government entity: In some cases, a government entity is responsible for the car crash. This could be an agency in charge of road maintenance. When this happens, the deadline to file the claim is significantly shortened [5], and if the claim is not filed in time, the case will not proceed.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help with Seat Belt Injury

Seat belt injuries can be painful and, in some cases, life-threatening. If they result from negligence, seat belt injuries can be included in a personal injury case against the at-fault driver. Your car accident lawyer will use investigative measures to determine liability and build a strong case in your favor. No one should suffer physical pain and financial loss for something they did not do.

Questions About a Seat Belt Injury from Car Accidents

What types of injuries can occur from seat belt use?

Seat belt use can lead to various injuries ranging from mild strains and sprains, cuts and bruises to more severe fractures, organ damage, internal bleeding, or spinal cord injury.

Who can I sue when seat belt injuries occur?

Depending on the cause of the accident, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the individual at fault for failing to maintain their vehicle or obey traffic laws properly. Additionally, you might be entitled to compensation from any parties responsible for manufacturing defective seat belts or vehicles with faulty safety features.

Free Case Review for Your Car Accident Seat Belt Injuries

The experienced, award-winning lawyers at the Wilshire Law Firm are waiting to help. We offer a free, no-obligation review where our legal team will evaluate your accident case, answer your questions, and provide you with options moving forward.

We work on a contingency basis, which means you pay no fees unless you win. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer. Don’t hesitate to call. It is crucial to start as soon as possible after the auto accident before evidence is lost or disappears.

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By submitting this form, you agree to receive telephone calls and text messages at anytime, which include hours outside of business hours (8:00 a.m. PST - 9:00 p.m. PST). This is so that we may reach you as soon as possible in order to consult on your potential case.