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What Happens to Seat Belts After a Crash?

Lawyers for Seatbelt Injuries Auto Accident Claims: Chicago, Illinois

seatbelt-injury-auto-crash Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC frequently assists people with seatbelt injuries in Chicago auto accidents in obtaining the compensation they are entitled to receive. In addition, our Illinois auto accident lawyers can help you assert your legal rights if you have received a seat belt injury.

Our personal injury attorneys are ready to guide you through the legal process and take the time to meet with you to discuss your legal options. Please feel free to fill out our online form or call us for more information to receive a free case review.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) discovered that over fifty-one percent of car crash victims avoided death because they were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.

While seat belts might prevent deaths, the severe injuries resulting from a seat belt restraint have only recently been studied. Illinois law affords any individual injured by a seatbelt to recover compensation for their injuries from the party who caused the collision.

A Victim's Legal Rights

Individuals injured by seat belts have legal rights. However, just because a seat belt might have saved an individual's life does not mean that person was not injured from that seat belt during the crash.

The seatbelt and the victim's car might have a manufacturing or design defect. As a result, all companies involved in the manufacturing and distribution chain of seat belts might be liable for the damages suffered by drivers and passengers due to seat belt defects.

Basic Illinois Seat Belt Laws

All drivers and front-seat passengers must wear a seat belt properly while a motor vehicle is in motion in Illinois. Also, passenger children under nineteen must wear a safety belt if a driver is under eighteen years old.

All children under eight years of age, regardless of their location in a vehicle, must be secured in an approved child safety system to minimize the severity of harm if they are injured in an accident. In addition, a family with a child should ensure it has a child-friendly protection seat to ensure safety while in the vehicle.

Seat Belt Injury Facts and Statistics

In serious vehicle accidents, seat belts might restrain individuals if they reach speeds over 100 m.p.h. The results of a crash at excessive speed could leave individuals with whiplash, severed limbs, and other serious injuries.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a report finding that thousands of individuals suffered from lap and shoulder harm when they used their seatbelts.

The NHTSA released the following seat belt related injury statistics in a study titled, "Seatbelt Injuries in Medical and Statistical Perspectives:"

  • Over 4600 individuals suffered from lap harm after using lap belts. That accounts for an injury rate of 24.2 percent
  • More than 81,000 individuals suffered from lap/shoulder injuries after using a seat belt. That accounts for an injury rate of 25.2 percent
  • Approximately 129,000 individuals suffered harm because of not using a seat belt, at an injury rate of 54.6 percent

Research Studies on Internal Organ Damage Resulting From Seat Belt Use

Numerous other published research studies have tracked individuals' injuries from auto accidents after using their seat belts. For example, a study published in the Southern Medical Journal by Dr. Greingor and Dr. Lazarus discovered that seat belt injuries patients frequently suffered from sternal fractures.

The study is entitled "Chest and Abdominal Harm Caused by Seat Belt Wearing" revealed findings of passengers involved in auto accidents who:

  • Suffered from an increase in abdominal tenderness and muscle fiber damage
  • Suffered from bowel injuries
  • Suffered from an increase in higher mortality and morbidity rates involving a delayed diagnosis of bowel harm

Types of Seat Belt Injuries

A motor vehicle's sudden stop could cause significant pain if a shoulder strap presses the upper torso. Many accident victims require physical therapy and chiropractic care after seat belt harm.

The common injuries that victims could suffer from the use of seat belt restraining devices are:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Fractured sternum
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal bleeding and trauma
  • Abdominal pain injuries
  • Bowel injuries
  • Skin abrasions
  • Lumbar spine
  • Fractured ribs
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Chest complications

Sample Settlements & Verdicts Related to Seatbelt Injuries Related to Illinois Auto Accidents

$212,000 Settlement; Rockford, Illinois; 2016

A mother and her daughter were driving in downtown Rockford when a large truck turned left and crashed into their passenger car. The mother broke some bones and needed a hip replaced, generating almost $90,000 in medical expenses.

The daughter suffered neck, chest, and back harm because of the safety belt she was wearing. Later, these injuries caused facial drooping and paralysis.

The daughter spent more than $30,000 in medical bills fixing these problems. Finally, they both sued the truck driver.

Despite the truck driver's protestations that the patients' problems predate the car accident, he finally did cooperate, and the parties settled. As a result, the mother received $150,000 of financial compensation, and the daughter received $62,500 for her damages.

$1,300,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2015

This personal injury lawsuit started as a trip to Chicago for work. A woman in her early sixties was traveling to Illinois to attend a conference. Unfortunately, the van she traveled in did not correctly install the safety belt.

Therefore, when the van stopped abruptly, she was sent flying to the floor, hurting her knee. To make matters worse, upon exiting the vehicle, she tumbled down and broke her femur. As a result, she sued the truck driver and large truck company for damages.

She claimed they were both negligent and responsible for her injuries, costs (including almost $300,000 in medical expenses), and pain and disability from her subsequent knee replacement surgery following the events. However, the company denied they were at fault.

The company claimed the woman was exaggerating her injuries. Yet, the company also agreed to settle. At the end of the process, the woman received a $1.3 million settlement package.

$690,000 Settlement; Lake County, Illinois; 2012

This controversy occurred in Gurnee, Illinois. A forty-year-old woman was waiting for a red light to change to green when she was rear-ended by the defendant's motor vehicle. The car was traveling at nearly fifty miles per hour when he slammed into her passenger car.

The car flipped over and left her hanging in her seat. As she hung upside down in midair, the safety belt cut into her organs and broke a few of her bones. The trips to the hospital, doctors, and rehab cost her almost $200,000.

She also had to miss work for three months due to seat belt harm, costing approximately $8,000. She presented this evidence when bringing a claim against the driver in an Illinois court and the resulting loss and damage. The two sides settled before it could reach a jury. The man's insurance company gave her $690,000.

$2,500,000 Settlement; Cook County, Illinois; 2007

A young family was riding in their motor vehicle in Schaumburg when another vehicle chased through a yellow light and turned left into them. The crash was catastrophic. The family's little six-year-old girl was killed when the safety belt crushed her spine.

Not long after the tragic events, the family brought a suit against the driver. The case was for personal injury and wrongful death. Fortunately for the plaintiffs, the defendants chose to settle the claim out of court instead of presenting evidence at trial. Because of that, the defendant's insurance company gave the family $2.5 million.

Vehicle Accident Seatbelt Injury FAQs

Our personal attorneys understand that many families have unanswered questions about dealing with insurance companies after an auto crash leading to severe and fatal injuries. Our legal team has answered some of those questions below.

Call our law office today for additional information. All sensitive or confidential information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

What Injuries Can Seat Belts Cause?

Accident victims can suffer severe harm from the vehicle's seat belt during a minor to a horrific crash. These injuries might include broken bones, internal organ damage, joint dislocations, fractures, intestinal harm, spinal column damage, and internal bleeding.

How Do Seat Belts Reduce Injury in a Crash?

Seatbelts are designed to secure the victim in place inside the vehicle during a car crash. A seat belt is a preventative measure that protects the driver and front-seat passenger from colliding with the steering wheel and dashboard.

Our personal injury attorneys understand that the seatbelt injures many people in car accidents. The safety belt disperses the impact force on the victim's body during the vehicle crash. The seat belt spreads the crash's force across the shoulder, torso, and pelvis upon impact.

What Happens to a Seatbelt After an Accident?

During an accident, the safety belt components communicate with the auto's airbag system that might deploy if the front bumper sensors come into impact. As a result, technicians must replace safety belt parts, including the retractors, the airbag's inflator, ignitor, and sensors during the post-collision auto repair.

Can a Car Accident Cause Stomach Problems?

You might suffer from internal bleeding or severe injury following an auto crash while wearing a seat belt. For example, your stomach pain might be caused by a seat belt's damage to the soft tissue under the abdominal wall. The pain can last hours, days, or weeks after the crash.

Doctors recommend seeking medical attention at a local emergency room or urgent care center immediately after a car crash to ensure your safety. However, only a qualified diagnostician can accurately identify severe injuries that might require life-threatening treatment.

What Is Seat Belt Syndrome?

Seatbelts were initially designed and installed in vehicles to ensure rider safety and minimize an injury's severity after a crash. Accident victims wearing their seatbelts properly tend to have a shortened hospital stay and require few operations to repair internal injuries compared to unbelted drivers and passengers.

Lumbar fractures, bowel perforations, and internal organ damage are all Seat Belt Syndrome injuries that typically develop after an auto crash.

Should Seat Belts Be Replaced After an Accident?

Seatbelts offer the best protection and are designed and manufactured with a webbed fabric that stretches in an accident to absorb energy caused by an impact force during a crash to save lives.

Failing to replace the safety belt after a minor or severe crash could create a dangerous occupant scenario if the second accident occurs and cause injuries. Therefore, auto manufacturers recommend changing the seat belt after every traffic crash.

Can a Car Accident Cause Bowel Problems?

The blunt force impact could place significant trauma against the victim's abdominal region during an auto crash, especially at the lap belt restraint. Many crash victims suffer severe harm where the lap belt contacts the torso and lap.

Common symptoms associated with seat belt injuries include abdominal swelling, chest injuries, lumbar spine damage, fractured ribs, lacerations, lower back pain, intense pain, vomiting, shoulder dislocation, constipation, and dehydration.

Hiring a Vehicle Accident Seatbelt Injury Attorney Can Help

Did you receive a safety belt injury during a car accident requiring medical care, or did you lose a loved one in an automobile accident due to a defective seat belt? If so, please speak with one of our attorneys for help today.

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our auto accident attorneys are legal advocates for injured victims harmed through the negligence of others. Call our law office today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Our law firm accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements. This promise ensures you pay nothing until your legal matter is successfully resolved through a jury trial verdict or negotiated settlement.

All family members who lost a loved one in a car accident have a legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking financial compensation. Typically, the monetary recovery covers hospitalization costs, medical bills, lost wages, future lost earnings, familial support, loss of consortium/companionship, pain, suffering, and funeral & burial expenses.

We understand how overwhelming it can be to consider filing a lawsuit for a seat belt injury.

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