Wearing your seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle is one of the more effective ways to avoid a serious injury in a car crash. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that seat belt usage may reduce your chances of dying in a collision by almost half.
While your seat belt may save your life, it may also cause you to sustain a variety of injuries. If you have bruising across your torso or midsection after a motor vehicle accident, you should ask a doctor to determine if you have seat belt syndrome.
What is seat belt syndrome?
Seat belt syndrome is a general name for any injury or group of injuries seat belt usage may cause. These injuries may range from minor bruising to potentially life-threatening organ damage.
Unfortunately, though, there is no standard set of symptoms for seat belt syndrome.
The symptoms you may experience likely depend on the nature of the injury. For example, if your seat belt syndrome includes liver damage, you are likely to have the symptoms of a liver injury.
Why is early diagnosis important?
Your body has an automatic response to help you manage stressful situations, such as car accidents.
In the immediate aftermath of a crash, stress hormones may mask injury symptoms. Consequently, you may not recognize you have suffered an injury until hours or days after the accident.
If your seat belt syndrome is serious, early diagnosis is critical. After all, organ damage and other grave injuries are medical emergencies that require immediate intervention.