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Can seat belt syndrome be catastrophic?

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Posted on March 17, 2023

As you probably know, motor vehicle accidents are to blame for thousands of injuries and deaths in the U.S. every single year. Wearing your seat belt is one of the more effective ways to stay safe during a crash. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, seat belt usage can reduce your injury risk by as much as 60%.

Seat belts are not perfect, though. Indeed, it is not uncommon for those who have been in car accidents to have belt-shaped bruises on their waists and torsos. Belt-shaped bruising is a typical symptom of seat belt syndrome. Unfortunately, though, the condition also can have much more serious complications.

What is seat belt syndrome?

Unlike most other maladies that have specific names, seat belt syndrome refers to a host of injuries a person might suffer when wearing a seat belt during a motor vehicle accident. These injuries can be minor, such as superficial bruises, or life-threatening, like internal bleeding or organ damage.

When should you see a doctor?

Some serious types of seat belt syndrome have few or even no symptoms, so you might not know immediately whether you have a potentially catastrophic injury. As a result, it is advisable to go to a trauma center for evaluation after any car wreck. After all, receiving prompt diagnosis and treatment might save your life.

Visiting a trauma center can be expensive, even if you have good health insurance. Ultimately, to help you pay for the top-quality care you deserve, it might be necessary for you to seek financial compensation from the driver who caused your car accident.