According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over the past 40 years seat belts have saved an estimated 255,000 lives . However, it's also been repeatedly shown that seat belts have been a cause of several car accident injuries.
In this article we'll discuss what causes seat belt injuries and how you can properly compensated.
We will go over...
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Newton's first law of motion says:
It sounds obvious but it's important to remember that while you're in a vehicle, your body and the vehicle are traveling at the same speed. If your car is traveling at 60 mph, then so are you and all the passengers in the vehicle.
If a car accident causes your vehicle to suddenly stop, your body will still continue to travel at 60 mph unless an opposing force stops your momentum.
The purpose of using a seat belt is to provide that opposing force. To safely restrain you in the car and reduce the impact from the collision.
However, our bodies aren't exactly designed to go from 60 mph to 0 in the span of a few seconds. Depending on the speed of the vehicle, the combination of the sudden stop and the restraint of the seat belt can cause anywhere from minor to severe car accident injuries.
The force of the accident against your bodily organs, muscles, bones, and nerves is simply too much.
Your injuries can be further intensified if the seat belt:
As a safeguard against you being ejected from the vehicle during an accident, seat belts are rigid and strong. However, this can have a number of implications in terms of injuries. The most common injuries are:
The main thing you can do to prevent seat belt related injuries is to make sure you’re using yours properly. This means always making sure it's engaged and correctly placed. According to the National Highway and Safety Administration (NHTSA) :
In order to get a personal injury settlement for your seat belt injury, you first need to determine who is responsible for your pain and suffering.
An important point needs to be made here. There is a BIG difference between being in a car accident where your injuries were caused by a defective seat belt and one where your injuries were simply sustained while using a it.
If a seat belt malfunction was the primary cause in your car accident injuries, then you will want to pursue a product liability claim. In this scenarios the responsible party could be:
To win your product liability claim you will need to show that the other party was negligent by answering 3 main questions about the seat belt:
For example here are some scenarios that may suggest a seat belt defect :
In these scenarios you can see how the seat belt defect significantly contributed to your car accident injuries.
However, if you got in a car accident which caused your body to violently jerk against the seat belt and suffer injuries, you can be compensated by treating it as a normal bodily injury claim against the other driver's insurance company.
You would simply exchange insurance information with the other driver, call your own insurance company, and start the car accident claims process.
If you were injured in an accident and weren't wearing your seat belt can you still file a claim? The answer is yes, but there are some details to explore.
Your lack of seat belt may have contributed to a more serious injury and it may be viewed by a court or insurance company as contributory negligence resulting in a reduction in your personal injury settlement amount. The details of how exactly this claim is handled will depend on your specific state laws.
Seat belts are probably the most fundamental safety feature in your car and should be worn at all times. If you have suffered seat belt injuries after a car accident then remember the following:
2 - MedScape
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