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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

5 Most Common Seat Belt Injuries

Seat belts play an integral role in the safety of motor vehicle operators. They prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected from their respective vehicles, but the force of an accident can also cause serious seat-belt-related injuries such as abrasions and internal damage. In addition, a defective seatbelt can lead to devastating consequences for both drivers and their passengers. Wearing a seat belt can prevent serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident, but only if they are effective and worn properly. 


Here, the New York car accident attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. discuss common seat belt injuries that can occur as a result of a car accident, as well as how defective seat belts can be grounds for a lawsuit.


Seat Belts Can Prevent Some Injuries, Yet Lead to Others


While surprising to some, seat belts have led to a variety of injuries in car accident victims, even though seat belts are meant to protect drivers and their passengers from harm. Below are five of the most common seat belt injuries that can occur due to the force of seat belts:


Contusions and Abrasions

Car accidents are dangerous and forceful, which means that, while seat belts are supposed to keep you safe, they can cause painful lacerations in the process. Your seat belt may forcefully rub against your skin and cause painful cuts and scrapes. There is also a possibility that a seat belt could dig into your skin and cause serious bruising, contusions or abrasions on your neck, shoulder, chest or stomach. 


Bruised and Fractured Ribs

When your vehicle comes to an abrupt stop during an accident, the force causes the seat belt to restrain you, which may be powerful enough to cause damage to your ribs. The impact can lead to bruised, fractured or even broken ribs due to the “locking” functionality of the seat belt. 


Shoulder Injuries

The impact from an accident may cause the seat belt to tear tendons and delicate muscle fibers in your shoulder. These soft tissue injuries from extreme seat belt pressure can cause serious pain and discomfort in the shoulder region. Depending on the severity of the injury, physical therapy may be needed to rehabilitate your shoulder in the case of a serious seat belt injury.


Chest and Sternum Injuries

The sternum, which is located in the middle of your chest and connects to the ribs, protects the heart and lungs. When you are operating a vehicle, the seat belt typically sits across your sternum. This means that a forceful impact could potentially perforate your sternum and compromise your vital organs.


Abdominal Injuries

The immense force from a collision that causes seat belts to lock can lead to soft tissue abdominal injuries. These are especially common with lap seat belts, which can lead to abdominal injuries in the event of a car accident. 


General Motors Has Recalled Multiple Vehicles for Seat Belt Issues in 2021


As it turns out, General Motors recalled multiple 2021 motor vehicles this year, including the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. About 95,000 of these vehicles have experienced issues with third-row seat belts.The complications with these vehicles are that the seat belts may have been improperly installed or trapped behind the folding seats of the third row, which may cause seat belts to break during an accident. 


If you are unsure your vehicle may be recalled, you can enter your vehicle’s VIN number with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Consult a New York Car Accident Attorney at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. 


While seat belts are a crucial part of preserving the safety of motor vehicle operators and their passengers, the devices can also lead to their own list of injuries in a collision. Problems with seat belts can be exponentially greater if they are defective and were improperly manufactured and installed. 


Our skilled and knowledgeable New York car accident attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. have years of experience handling motor vehicle collision claims. If you or someone you know suffered injuries as a result of a defective seat belt, you have the right to seek legal compensation. If you are unsure if your seat belt was defective,  contact us here or call today for a free consultation: (212) 732-9000.

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Our fee is on a contingency basis. If we don’t recover money for you, we will never charge you. If you are unable to come to any of our offices, we are happy to visit you at home or in the hospital.

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