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Atlanta Auto Accident Injuries Caused by Seat Belts

April 06, 2015

According to experts, seat belts constitute one of the most effective ways to survive Atlanta auto accidents and to avoid serious injury. When occupants of motor vehicles buckle up, a seat belt can prevent ejection from the vehicle, which significantly reduces the risk of catastrophic injuries like trauma brain injury, spinal cord injuries, dismemberment and fatalities. Seat belts keep occupants within the protective enclosure provided by a vehicle passenger compartment and prevents an individual from being slammed against a hard surface in the interior of the vehicle. Despite the benefits of seat belts, there are rare occasions when a seat belt can actually contribute to the injury of a driver or passengers. This blog post looks at the dynamics of seat belt injuries, prevention of such injuries and legal issues involving safety restraint injuries.

During the sudden cessation of momentum in a collision, a seat belt will restrain the still moving occupants inside the vehicle. Although this is exactly the way a seat belt is designed to function, the force exacted on the body can cause certain types of injuries, that are usually minor. The likelihood and severity of a seat belt injury can be effected by malfunctions, manufacturing defects, improper placement of the restraint on the body or exceptionally tight belts. Most seat belt injuries are fairly minor, such as scrapes or bruises caused by the restraint, but the severity and type of injury depends on the nature of the crash. While lap belts can cause injury to the spine or abdomen, shoulder harnesses can cause injury to the neck, sternum or shoulder. Seat belt can sometimes cause more severe injuries that include intestinal injuries, broken bones, internal bleeding, dislocations, spinal cord injuries and fractures.

There are certainly ways to reduce the probability of injury from a seat belt. One of the most important strategies to avoiding seat belt injuries is to ensure proper placement. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides the following suggestions:

• The belt should be placed firmly across your hips and under your stomach.
• While the seat belt should be snug, it should not be overly tight or so loose that you can move freely in the seat.
• The shoulder harness should be away from your neck and across the middle of your chest.
• The shoulder harness should not be located under your arm or behind your back.

If you are interested in more information about proper seat belt placement, you can obtain such information by visiting

There are situations where crash-related injuries can involve legal issues involving seat belts. While a seat belt manufacturer generally will not be liable for minor belt-related injuries that occur because the seat belt functions the way it is supposed to during an auto collision, some injuries are the result of defective safety restraint systems. If the seat belt does not function the way expected because of a design or manufacturing flaw, the seat belt or vehicle manufacturer might be liable for seat belt injuries. Examples of seat belt defects might include the following:

• Defective Tension Retractors: The retractors might malfunction so that they do not keep the belt taut or remove slack.
• Defective Latches: The seat belt might not completely fasten or might detach because of the angle or force of impact.

A seat belt manufacturer also might be liable for injuries resulting from an insufficient number of seat belts or restraint systems that do not include shoulder harnesses. If you or someone you love has been injured in an Atlanta car accident, you might be entitled to financial compensation. When a vehicle defect, such as a malfunctioning seat belt is a substantial factor in causing the crash, the manufacturer of the vehicle or equipment might also be liable.

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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.