- Seat belt injuries from car accidents can lead to chronic pain and high medical bills, affecting victims’ long-term health and quality of life.
- Types of seat belt injuries include bruises, abrasions, fractured ribs and clavicles, and shoulder injuries due to the force of the accident.
- Chronic pain resulting from seat belt injuries can have a significant impact on both physical and mental health, increasing the risk of depression and anxiety.
- Victims of seat belt injuries may be entitled to compensation, including economic damages (medical bills, lost wages) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
- Consulting a car accident lawyer with experience is essential for building a strong case, navigating complex legal processes, and ensuring fair compensation.
After a car accident, it’s totally normal to experience pain in your shoulders, abdomen, and back as a result of seat belt injuries. This pain is often chronic, leaving car accident victims with long-term damage and high medical bills.
Seat belt injuries, while classified as a minor injury, can still be severe. Chronic pain can take a toll on one’s mental health and greatly affect one’s quality of life. By working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you can receive full and fair compensation for your damages.
Types of Seat Belt Injuries
A seat belt injury occurs because of force. For example, in a rear-end car accident, the body may jolt forward. The seat belt restrains you, keeping you from flying forward into the console or windshield. However, because this force is so great, the seatbelt can still cause damage to your body in a few different ways.
Bruises and Abrasions
When a seat belt restrains the passenger of a motor vehicle, it can dig into their skin, causing lacerations at the edges as well as bruising. It may be easy to brush off these injuries, but even scrapes and bruises can lead to long-term pain.
Fractured Ribs and Clavicles
Immense force can cause more than just bruises. In some cases, the pressure on the clavicle or the ribs is enough to fracture the bone. Broken bones, especially those that cannot be put into casts, take weeks to heal. The pain and discomfort from these injuries can also be great. On top of that, they may also require costly services like physical therapy.
Another common seat belt injury is damage to the shoulder. The force of the accident can be enough to cause soft tissue injuries, tearing tendons and muscles. Soft tissue injuries often take longer than broken bones to heal and are more likely to cause chronic pain down the road.
Side Effects of Seat Belt Injuries
Victims of seat belt injuries may experience side effects such as neck pain, whiplash, and general pain and discomfort. Skin may also be bruised and painful to touch. If you experience these side effects after a car accident, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention.
Even if you don’t think you’re injured after a car accident, you should still seek medical attention. Car accidents can result in increased adrenaline, which can hide even serious injuries. Other injuries may not appear right away.
By seeking immediate attention regardless of how you feel after the accident, you protect your claim from being denied by the insurance company. If you wait too long for treatment, they’ll claim that your injuries weren’t serious or related to the accident.
Long Term Consequences of Seat Belt Injuries on Physical and Mental Health
Soft tissue injuries, broken bones, and bruises are all known for their link to chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as any pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks or the normal healing period.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, people living with chronic pain are at a heightened risk for developing mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. In fact, they state that 35 to 45% of people with chronic pain experience regular depression.
Seeking Compensation for Damages from Seat Belt Injuries
Experiencing a car accident can be terrifying, and living with an injury afterward is certainly no easy feat. Simply put, you deserve compensation for your injuries and the effect they’ve had on your life.
There are two types of damages that you can recover: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are monetary losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are more abstract, like pain and suffering.
The damages you may be able to recover include:
- Medical bills
- Ambulance rides
- Hospital stays
- Physical therapy
- In-home care
- Specialist visits
- General doctors visits
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
The Importance of Consulting a Car Accident Lawyer
By working with a car accident lawyer, you’ll gain access to the years of experience and the resources your attorney has. Car accident lawsuits can be complex, often requiring a thorough investigation, collection of evidence, expert witnesses, and more.
We will use our resources, knowledge, and experience to help build a strong case against the at-fault party’s insurance company. We’ll fight hard for your settlement offer, ensuring that you receive full and fair compensation. We’ll even take your case to trial if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I’ve been injured by my seat belt in a car accident?
If you suspect that you have a seatbelt injury after an accident, you should seek immediate medical attention. A medical professional will be able to determine the extent of your injuries. After receiving medical care, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your potential case.
Can I still seek compensation if I wasn’t wearing a seat belt during the accident?
If you weren’t wearing a seat belt during your car accident, you can still receive compensation for your injuries.
How long do I have to file a seat belt injury claim in New York?
In New York, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a car accident lawsuit. However, there may be some circumstances where the statute of limitations may be shorter or longer.
Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.
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