There are a number of things that could cause injuries during a car accident. In some instances occupant seat belts can cause injuries to the occupants. This article will discuss how seat belt injuries occur, how they can be prevented and legal issues arising.
While it has been statistically proven that wearing a seat belt while travelling in a motor vehicle saves lives, there are times that wearing a seat belt alone does not ensure the safety of the drivers and passengers involved in a car accident. It must be noted that while the majority of seat belt injuries are minor some injuries caused by seat belts can be severe.
During an accident a car comes to a sudden stop and this requires that the seat belt act as a restraint to the driver or passenger in a moving vehicle. While a seat belt prevents severe injury when it is worn properly and functions as intended, the seat belt itself can cause injury to a driver or passenger. However, this is based on the severity of the accident or how tight the restraint is, if there is a seat belt malfunction, the seat belt is improperly placed on the body or a manufacturer defect; all this can result in a seat belt injury.
Most seat belt injuries are minor and include bruises and scrapes as a result of the restraints depending on the severity of the accident. Lap belts are responsible for internal injuries to the abdomen and the spinal cord, while shoulder belts often result in injuries to the shoulder, neck and sternum. The most serious injuries that can be caused by seat belts include fractures, dislocations, internal bleeding, spine injuries and intestinal injuries.
One of the keys to preventing seat belt related injuries is properly placing a seat belt on a vehicle occupant. According to the National Highway and Safety Administration (NHTSA) proper placement of the seat belt is as follows:
The shoulder belt should be placed across the middle of your chest and away from your neck
The lap belt should be placed firmly across your hips and below your stomach
Never place the shoulder strap behind your back or under your arm
No belt should be uncomfortably tight or so loose as to allow the occupant to freely move about in the seat
Legal issues relating to seat belt injuries include the following:
Defective seat belts - the majority of seat belts injuries occur as a result of defects in the seat belt restraint system. This basically means that the seat belt did not perform as expected because of a flaw in its design or a mistake in the manufacturing process.
Insufficient seat belts - a number of lawsuits have the legal issue of whether vehicle manufacturers can be liable for providing insufficient seat belts in the design of a vehicle and its equipment. These claims basically argue that by installing only a lap belt manufacturers are making passengers susceptible to serious injuries.
If you have suffered a seatbelt injury in a car or aircraft accident find attorneys handling Alaska aircraft accidents and vehicle accidents.