What Is Seat Belt Syndrome?

Posted on: September 28, 2023

It is no secret that seat belts save lives.  However, the force the seat belt puts on the body when it instantly restrains the individual can lead to an injury.  This is known as “seat belt syndrome” or a seat belt injury. 

Although seat belts reduce the risk of severe injuries and death, it is important to understand that seat belt syndrome can still cause injury to your abdomen, upper torso, and internal organs.  If you are ever involved in an accident, seek medical attention immediately, even if it seems minor. 

The most common symptoms of seat belt syndrome are bruises to your abdominal area or if you feel pain.  However, there are other symptoms to be aware of as well, including:

  • Seat belt markings, cuts, or abrasions across the abdomen.
  • Swelling or pain that does not go away.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Blood in urine or stool or changes in bowel movements or urination.
  • Vomiting or coughing up blood.
  • Difficulty breathing or abdominal pain when breathing.
  • Pain between hips and ribs.

Diagnosing seat belt syndrome can be difficult since symptoms are not immediately apparent right after a crash.  This is why it is essential to seek medical attention after a car accident and let the treating doctor know you were involved in a crash.

How Is Seat Belt Syndrome Diagnosed?

A doctor would first physically examine their patient if they were experiencing symptoms, such as pressing on the abdomen or observing any swelling or bruising.  Next, they will likely request a CT scan or other tests to diagnose internal organ damage.

Seat belt syndrome treatment is often delayed, which may further complicate injuries.  If left undiagnosed, seat belt syndrome can lead to severe injuries.  It can be hazardous to small children, given that their bodies and bones are still developing and cannot provide the same protection as a fully developed adult body.    

Even though you may suffer an injury from a seat belt, the pros of wearing one outweigh the cons. It is widely agreed that a seat belt should always be worn.

New Jersey Car Accident Laws

It is beneficial to all drivers to know the accident laws in their state when they are injured in a crash.  In New Jersey, there are a few laws to keep in mind:

  • New Jersey is a “no-fault” insurance state, meaning that regardless of who causes an accident, the parties involved would go to their insurance carrier for coverage. In certain circumstances, you can sue the at-fault driver.
  • The statute of limitations is the time limit to file a claim against the at-fault driver.  In New Jersey, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury. 

Middletown Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Protect the Rights of Injured Clients

Even if your car accident is considered minor, you may still be injured and not realize it.  If you have been injured in an accident, speak with our Middletown car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova are here to help.  Call us today at 732-705-3363 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.  Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.