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What is Seat Belt Syndrome?

 Posted on June 22, 2023 in Car Accidents

Joliet Personal Injury LawyerThe term “seat belt syndrome” refers to injuries that can occur as a result of wearing a seat belt during a car accident. These traumas can be detected by seat belt marks on the body, such as harm to organs in the stomach, such as bowel perforations, and fractures in the vertebrae in the chest and lower back. These marks have become known as “seat belt signs” and are commonly present in emergency department cases involving internal injuries. 

How Does Seat Belt Syndrome Occur?

Seat belt syndrome is when the body experiences sudden deceleration forces, causing the spine to hyperflex around the lap strap. This can result in the intra-abdominal contents being crushed between the spine and the seatbelt. The fixed portions of the bowel are more vulnerable to injury as they cannot escape the high pressure, resulting in damage.

If somebody in the vehicle is not wearing a seatbelt, this increases the risk of injury or death by 40%. It is essential to put on seat belts in both the front and back seats as they considerably lower the risk of severe injury or death in case of an accident. Studies have shown that using lap and shoulder belts can reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front-seat occupants by 45%.

How Can You Prove Your Injury Was From Seat Belt Syndrome?

To prove that an injury was caused by seat belt syndrome, you must take several important steps. First, make sure you inform your doctor or medical professional. Without documentation and testing, you won’t have much proof. Your doctor can conduct relevant testing such as a CT scan, abdominal sonography, or laparotomy. Aside from testing, document any visible injuries like bruises or abrasions, as well as any received medical treatments, to support your claim.

Hiring a medical expert to give their opinion can help strengthen your case by providing a professional assessment on whether your injury is consistent with seat belt syndrome. The presence of the seat belt sign, a visible bruise or abrasion on the abdomen or chest, can serve as direct evidence. In cases where pain or tenderness persists despite a negative CT, admission for observation, repeated examination, and further CT scanning may be necessary.

Contact a Joliet Car Accident Attorney Today

To make sure you are on the right track with proof and documentation, working with an Illinois personal injury lawyer can help. Call McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC at 815-727-0100 for a free consultation.





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