While there is little doubt that wearing a seatbelt during a car accident can save your life, the seatbelt itself may pose some risks. The growing incidence of car accidents combined with an increased compliance to seatbelt laws has resulted in more seatbelt related injuries.
In the impact of a car accident, the seat belt tightens to forcefully restrain the vehicle occupants. When this happens, several different injuries may occur, including:
- Bruising or abrasions to the chest
- Bruising or fractures to the ribs and sternum
- Injuries to internal organs, and
- Intestinal injuries
It is imperative to seek medical attention promptly for these types of injuries. Even though they may seem to heal quickly, they could be indicative of much more severe injuries, including internal bleeding or torn muscles, ligaments, tendons or cartilage.
Symptoms of Chest Injuries
Tenderness at the site of the injury accompanied by bruising and abrasions are the symptoms most frequently seen. If a seatbelt mark is visible across the abdomen, abdominal or intestinal injuries may have also been suffered. These injuries must be addressed immediately to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation.
Symptoms of minor chest injuries primarily include pain in the chest wall when the shoulder or arm is moved, or the trunk of the body is turned. Chest pain when sneezing, coughing or breathing deeply is also very common. Although none of these symptoms may seem especially dangerous, it is still prudent to have your doctor document and monitor the injuries in the event that complications ensue.
Severe pain and difficulty breathing may be signs of a more serious chest injury, including damage to blood vessels, the lungs, or heart.
One particular injury being witnessed more frequently is that of sternal fractures. In fact, since the implementation of seatbelt laws, sternal fractures in car accidents have increased threefold. A person who has sustained a blunt force trauma to their sternum or a sternal fracture may experience extreme shortness of breath or show symptoms of shock. Symptoms of a sternal fracture can include pain and discomfort around the sternum. Sternal fractures can also cause injuries to organs behind the sternum and occasionally can sometimes be associated with fractured ribs or injuries to the spinal cord.
Rib fractures are another common seatbelt injury. Additionally, the cartilage between the ribs and the connective tissues may tear. Symptoms can include severe stabbing pain in the affected area that intensifies when the individual coughs or breathes deeply. Fractured ribs can be very painful and can take weeks to mend.
A person who sustains any of these chest injuries should be examined by their doctor for signs of more serious complications.
Contact Our Denver Car Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, Littleton, or anywhere in the State of Colorado, it is important to speak to an experienced Denver car accident attorney at Paysinger Law today. Call Denver attorney Robert Paysinger today to discuss your case. Our law firm offers FREE case consultations and can be reached at 303.279.0221.
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