If you've been driving in the state of Florida for any amount of time, you've most definitely seen or heard the slogan, "Click it or ticket." You strap yourself in every time you get in the car and urge your passengers to do the same. Not just because it's Florida law, but because in the case of a car crash you're much more likely to be fatally injured if you're not wearing a seat belt.
Seat belts are a major component of staying safe in the case of an auto accident, but when they fail to do their job the resulting injuries can be life-changing. If you've recently experienced an accident in which your seat belt failed to keep you safe, you might be hesitant to trust anyone else with your pain and suffering. Our respected auto accident attorneys, at Weinstein Legal, are here to help victims that have suffered at the hands of other's negligence.
Weinstein Legal will take the time to understand the details of your case and use this knowledge to fight for the compensation you deserve. If you or someone you know has recently suffered a seat belt injury, contact us now or fill out the free case evaluation form to your right.
Why Seat Belts Can Be Dangerous
Seat belts are specifically constructed to withstand the force of a human body pressing against it. They're made of a thick material known as "webbing," which is also used to create safety harnesses and parachute straps. Each seat belt has a spool mounted inside of the vehicle which allows the seat belt to retract and expand freely. These spools are constructed with a locking mechanism that prevents the seat belt from unspooling when it is pulled quickly - hence why you feel a tug on your seat belt when you decelerate rapidly.
For this reason, being constricted by a seat belt in the case of an accident can cause serious injury. Seat belts are meant to reduce the impact of collisions by restraining occupants to their seats. The belt tightens immediately on impact, compressing the individual wearing it.
Therefore, while seat belts are intended to keep you safe, there are times when seat belt use can contribute to injuries during a car accident.
Secondary Injuries Caused by Seat Belts
Although the use of seat belts is widely enforced, adults, as well as children, are at risk from wearing a seat belt during an auto accident. In the case of an accident, a seat belt helps the body to absorb the kinetic energy released from the rapid deceleration of the vehicle. However, this pressure typically results in skeletal injuries, soft tissue damage, and visceral injuries.
We refer to these injuries as "secondary injuries." This is because while the at-fault vehicle did not directly cause the injuries from the seat belt, they caused the accident which caused the seat belt to restrain the individual, leading to the injuries.
Seat belts that only strap across the hips cause more internal injuries due to the pressure placed on the intestines and other organs located in the lower torso. Three point restraint systems that strap across the chest (typically seen in passenger cars) are typically associated with more upper body injuries. Common injuries caused by seat belts during an accident include:
- Cracked sternum and/or clavicles
- Abrasions to the abdomen, neck, and chest
- Friction burns
- Organ injury
- Arterial injury
- Burst appendix
- Ruptured spleen
- Fractured ribs
- Vertebrae injury
- Soft-tissue damage, such as bruising, sprains, and strains
Life Changing Injuries Caused by Seat Belts
Seat belts should automatically react in the case of an accident. This means that whether the accident was a rear-end collision, side-impact collision, head-on collision, or a vehicle roll-over, a drastic deceleration of any kind will cause the seat belt to constrict.
However, when it comes to seat belt injuries, some types of car accidents are more dangerous than others. Accidents such as head-on collisions and roll-overs, in which the seat belt applies an extreme amount of pressure to the occupant, can cause life-changing injuries such as:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Injury to the thoracic aorta
- Bowel perforation
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain or head injuries
- Closed head trauma
- Thoracic injury
- Intestinal injury
- Wrongful death
How Can an Attorney Help?
A seat belt injury resulting from auto accidents can be truly life altering. From medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering endured due to the negligence of others, you can find yourself facing large bills. However, you do not have to handle it alone. If you were diagnosed with injuries consistent with seat belt-related causes, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Property damage
- Emotional duress
- Potential loss of future earnings
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
Car accidents can be both physically and psychologically traumatic. When injured at the hands of another's negligence, additional suffering caused by what was supposed to keep you safe can feel like a devastating blow.
If you or someone you love has recently suffered a seat belt injury during an auto accident, contact the office of Weinstein Legal today. Our attorneys will fight to ensure that you don't end up trapped under the weight of medical bills and damages.
Call Weinstein Legal today to discuss your case. Available 24/7, we won't let you fight alone.