Can a seat belt actually cause injury in an accident?

There’s been a huge push across the nation to raise public awareness about the safety benefits of wearing a seat belt whenever you’re in a moving vehicle. In 2017, seat belt use saved nearly 15,000 lives in motor vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Many people don’t know, however, that sometimes a seat belt can actually cause injury in the event of an accident. This article examines some causes of such injuries:

Improper use

Failing to wear a seat belt as intended could lead to injury. If you wear your seat belt too loosely, it may not provide the necessary restraint in the event of a collision. In addition, if you wear it over your stomach – rather than across your hips – it could increase your risk of organ damage and internal bleeding in an accident. Health risks are increased further if you wear a seat belt in this way while pregnant.

Product liability

Manufacturing defects may prevent certain equipment from functioning as it should in an accident. For instance, if a seat belt’s tension detectors malfunction or its latch doesn’t lock properly, these defects could be grounds for a product liability suit.

In some accidents, a passenger’s body may slide down underneath the lap restraint of the seat belt. This effect is known as seat belt submarining and is especially common among children. When it occurs, the displaced belt redirects the impact from the collision and can cause a variety of injuries, including:

  • Abdominal and pelvic injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Leg and spine fractures

There are different causes of seat belt submarining. If the driver slams on the brakes, the sudden drop in momentum could force a passenger to slide downward. Another cause could be improper seat cushion design. If the base of your seat slides forward, this could be a defect for which the manufacturer could be held liable.

Prevention

While seat belt related injuries may not be preventable, there are certain steps you can take to reduce the risk of injury from seat belts. When you fasten your seat belt, make sure it fits securely and comfortably across your waist. If you have children under 4 feet 9 inches tall – the height specified under Alabama safety recommendations – you should secure them in a booster seat any time they travel in a motor vehicle. Taking these steps can help to ensure that you and your family reach your destination safely.

i 3 Table of Contents

We listen. Your story matters to us.

We have a team of courtroom lawyers with a proven track record to help you tell your story. And we have the resources, the experience and the reputation to make sure you’re heard.

Tell Us About Your Case

Check Consent Box

Honored To Be a Part of Their  Story
"They took a case that others would have stayed clear of.."
I have the utmost respect for Rip Andrews and the lawyers at MRB Law. They took a case that others would have stayed clear of because the issue of state immunity was involved. Through determination and unwavering commitment they were able to a find resolution to an extremely difficult matter.
Nancy Owen
"They took a case that others would have stayed clear of.."
I have the utmost respect for Rip Andrews and the lawyers at MRB Law. They took a case that others would have stayed clear of because the issue of state immunity was involved. Through determination and unwavering commitment they were able to a find resolution to an extremely difficult matter.
Nancy Owen
"They...brought justice to my family through a multi-million dollar verdict ."
These lawyers took a complicated issue, revealed the truth in a way 12 jurors unfamiliar with the topic could understand, and brought justice to my family through a multi-million dollar verdict. They were able to relate my “invisible” medical condition to the jury better than I can to my own friends. And because of that, the jury hugged me and cried with me when it was all over. That meant more to me than any amount of money.
Caroline Malatesta
"They...brought justice to my family through a multi-million dollar verdict."
These lawyers took a complicated issue, revealed the truth in a way 12 jurors unfamiliar with the topic could understand, and brought justice to my family through a multi-million dollar verdict. They were able to relate my “invisible” medical condition to the jury better than I can to my own friends. And because of that, the jury hugged me and cried with me when it was all over. That meant more to me than any amount of money.
Caroline Malatesta
"Our relationship began as strangers but ended in friendship thanks to the compassion he showed ."
I can’t adequately put into words the appreciation I have for Mr. Derrick Mills and MRB Law. He was assertive in his fight for justice for our family during our time of tragedy. Mr. Mills is knowledgeable, passionate and a great communicator. Our relationship began as strangers but ended in friendship thanks to the compassion he showed. Thank you Mr. Mills for being a dedicated professional! Justice done right!
Dana Owens
"Our relationship began as strangers but ended in friendship thanks to the compassion he showed."
I can’t adequately put into words the appreciation I have for Mr. Derrick Mills and MRB Law. He was assertive in his fight for justice for our family during our time of tragedy. Mr. Mills is knowledgeable, passionate and a great communicator. Our relationship began as strangers but ended in friendship thanks to the compassion he showed. Thank you Mr. Mills for being a dedicated professional! Justice done right!
Dana Owens
Related Articles
How can a malfunctioning seat belt be fatal?
How can a malfunctioning seat belt be fatal?

Seat belts are one of the most important safety equipment inside vehicles; millions of people depend on them daily. This type of equipment has a dramatic impact on a person’s chances of survival in an accident. A malfunctioning seat belt can put drivers and passengers...

Understanding the dangers of defective car seats
Understanding the dangers of defective car seats

Car seats exist to keep babies, toddlers and children safe during a car crash. However, in certain instances, they do not work as they are supposed to due to a defect or flaw in the product. An improperly manufactured car seat can be ineffective and extremely...

Children’s cups recalled for lead content: the danger to toddlers

The recent recall of more than 345,000 children's drinking cups due to excessive lead in the containers is an excellent time to remember why lead exposure is so dangerous to children. There's a reason the U.S. government strictly regulates the use of lead in household...

Related Videos
Personal Account
Business Account
Investments
Insurance Services
Ohter Services
Debit Card
Credit Card

Your story matters to us

Tell Us Your Story