Can your seatbelt actually cause you injury?

Everyone knows that wearing a seatbelt when in a moving vehicle can greatly increase safety in the event of an accident. In 2016, more than 14,600 lives were saved in the U.S. due to seatbelt use, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Nonetheless, in some cases, seatbelt can actually be the culprit of injury in a collision. In this article, we examine a few contributing factors:

Improper wear

When worn properly, your seatbelt should fit snugly below your waist. If your seatbelt is too loose, it could fail to adequately restrain you if you stop suddenly. If your seatbelt rides over your stomach, a sudden impact could cause organ damage or internal bleeding—and if you’re pregnant, it could injure the fetus.

Defective seat

“Submarining” refers to the effect of sliding down beneath the seatbelt when your vehicle suddenly brakes. It can result in internal bleeding, injuries to the abdomen and pelvis as well as leg and spinal fractures. Submarining commonly happens with small children due to their size, but it can also happen when the base of a car’s seat isn’t properly fastened in place. When the car breaks, the inertia causes the seat to slide forward.

Defective belt

In addition, other defects in the seatbelt itself may cause it to perform improperly. If a seatbelt’s latch doesn’t lock completely or if its tension detectors malfunction, the seatbelt may fail to restrain the passenger when an accident occurs.

In order to maximize your odds of injury prevention in an accident, it’s important to always wear a seatbelt whenever you’re in a car. But it’s equally important to ensure that you’re wearing it correctly and that it functions properly. If you suffer injury due to one of the above defects, consult with a personal injury attorney to understand your opportunities for compensation.