What Is Seatbelt Syndrome?

Car accidents can be traumatizing experiences. As much as you’d like to put it behind you, sometimes injuries can show up long after the initial incident. If you get into a car accident in Pennsylvania or other states, you want to be on the lookout for seatbelt syndrome.

Seatbelt syndrome is an injury sustained during a car accident from the seatbelt that you’re wearing. Seatbelt syndrome isn’t always detectable in the immediate aftermath of car accidents but can cause severe problems down the line.

What injuries are consistent with seatbelt syndrome?

One of the most consistent injuries associated with seatbelt syndrome is bruising across the chest and abdomen where your seatbelt falls. Sometimes, bruising doesn’t show up until hours after. While some people may experience some tenderness in the area, other people in car accidents might not even be aware of the bruising.

However, the bruising can be a sign of deeper issues to internal organs. A study recently showed that some patients don’t have severe pain until days later when their internal organs are trying to recoup and repair themselves and the shock of the accident wears off.

What are some more severe injuries?

Often, the bruising can be an early warning sign of more serious injuries from the car accident. More severe injuries associated with seatbelt syndrome can include some of the following:

  • Bruised or torn organs, particularly around the abdomen or chest
  • Bruised or broken ribs
  • Built-up fluid in the intestines or abdomen

What are the dangers of seatbelt syndrome?

After a car accident, you might not have any major injuries and might not go to a hospital just for the seatbelt bruising. While a surgeon or doctor might be able to recognize the early warning signs of seatbelt syndrome, a car accident victim might write it off.

The undetected severe injuries with seatbelt syndrome can lead to internal bleeding and organ failure, among other things. If you suspect that your car accident is responsible for more severe injuries that weren’t documented immediately after the accident, it may be wise to reach out to a lawyer to discuss your options.