Home » Are car accident seat belt injuries really that serious?

Even though seat belts are required by law and are proven to save lives, in some cases, car accident seat belt injuries can be serious.

car accident seat belt injuries

During impact or an abrupt stop in a car accident, a seat belt locks up to restrain a driver or passenger from being thrown out of their seat, but the restraint itself can be harmful. While some seat belt injuries are minor, serious seat belt injuries can require immediate medical treatment and a lengthy period of recovery.

When a seat belt has caused a serious injury to you or a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation when the injury was the fault of the other driver. 

Common Types of Serious Seat Belt Injuries

From lacerations to soft tissue injuries, fractured ribs, and more, here are some of the most common types of seat belt injuries.


The design of seat belts has improved over the years, but older seat belts that are thick and brittle can cause scrapes and cuts when locking up during a collision. Scrapes and cuts can be deep, depending on the severity of the accident, and should be treated properly to ensure that no infection occurs.

Seat belt lacerations may require immediate medical treatment, and they may be in any part of your body that came into contact with the seat belt during the collision. After a collision, be sure to review all areas of your body for scrapes and cuts and treat them properly to prevent infection or scarring. 

Chest Injuries

A seat belt can cause many different chest injuries, with bruising being the most common. Deep bruises in a person’s chest can cause severe pain, as well as trouble breathing and lying down. Ligaments or tendons in the chest may also be torn or pulled. Chest injuries can cause a person to have more limited movement than usual. 

Although less common, a seat belt can even cause a sternum fracture, which can cause damage to internal organs. When your chest feels sore after an accident, you should seek medical attention quickly to diagnose any potential injury you may have and get treated early.

Fractured or Bruised Ribs

Even in minor to moderate car accidents, the impact of a seat belt on a person’s body can cause a fractured or bruised rib. The most forceful impact can even cause dislocated ribs. A bruised rib can be just as painful as a fractured rib. Both fractured and bruised ribs may take several weeks or months to heal.

It’s important to follow a doctor’s orders for healing a fractured or bruised rib: icing, resting, controlled breathing, and taking pain medication. Not treating a fractured or bruised rib early and often may cause significant side effects, such as affecting lung or heart function. 

Muscle Pains

Muscle pains can be triggered by shock while wearing a seatbelt. Bulging discs, which are  located in the lumbar spine, may press painfully against the spine and might lead to inflammation/compression or sciatica of the nerve.

Sciatica often results from trauma to the lumbar spine and might lead to pain in the foot, calf, lower back, buttock, and thigh. Patients often experience tingling sensations, numbness, or muscle weakness.

Abdominal Trauma

A seat belt can put a lot of pressure on your internal organs while restraining you in your seat during an accident. A person with abdominal trauma or an abdominal soft tissue injury may experience abdominal pain right away, or pain may creep up slowly after the accident. You may have torn or pulled ligaments or muscles in your abdomen.

Abdominal trauma can cause pain, bruising, and tenderness. In the worst cases, a person may lose blood or have an infection. For your organs to function properly and to avoid any long-term damage, get evaluated by a physician right away. 

Seat Belt Syndrome

Seat belt syndrome is an overarching term for all seat belt injuries. Seat belt syndrome occurs when there are seat belt marks on a person’s body, in addition to an intra-abdominal organ injury and/or a thoraco-lumbar vertebral fracture. 

Seat belt syndrome happens as a result of sudden deceleration which leads to intra-abdominal organs being crushed between a person’s spine and the seat belt. Any intra-abdominal organ can be injured, so a wide range of symptoms can occur based on the organ(s) involved or the location of sustained fracture(s).

Get in Touch With Top Car Accident Lawyer Mike Rafi for Help

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, Mike can help. Car accident seat belt injuries can be claimed through a lawsuit to hold the other party liable for damages. If you need help getting the maximum compensation, get in touch with a Georgia car accident attorney at Rafi Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.

Call 404-948-3311, live chat with us, or send us a message to talk to us about your case today.


If you have been injured by another party and need representation by a legal team that will fight hard for you, call Rafi Law Firm today for a free consultation at 404-800-9933.