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The hidden danger of seat belt injuries

Seat belts save lives. In a car accident, your seat belt can prevent you from being thrown forward into your steering wheel or windshield and save you from serious injuries or death.

However, seat belts can also cause certain injuries due to the opposing forces exerted against your body in the crash. Those injuries may not even be obvious immediately after an accident. Even though you may be badly injured, your adrenaline can overpower the pain you might otherwise feel. Some of the real damage may not even set in for hours, once the bleeding and swelling have time to develop.

Some of the common results of a seat belt injury after a car wreck include:

  • Damage to the abdominal wall
  • Perforated or torn bowel
  • Damage to the intestines
  • Injury to the spleen or liver
  • Injuries to the visceral organs, like the pancreas or kidneys
  • Clavicle fractures
  • Cervical vascular injuries
  • Cervical spine fractures
  • A fractured sternum
  • Broken ribs
  • Bruised lungs
  • A bruised heart and other thoracic injuries

If you’ve recently been in a car wreck and you have bruising where your seat belt caught you around your stomach, chest, shoulder or neck, you should be evaluated by a doctor. In addition, be on the alert for tenderness in your abdomen, low back pain, swelling anywhere in your stomach, a sense of pressure or fullness in your chest, headaches, dizziness or pain. You may even have undetected internal bleeding that could quickly become fatal without treatment.

It isn’t unusual to walk away from a wreck thinking that you’re okay only to find out later that you aren’t. You may even be seriously hurt — and the impact on your life could be severe. Find out what you can do to get the compensation you deserve.