Can Seatbelts Actually Cause Injuries?

June 6, 2013

In our years of experience as Buffalo personal injury attorneys, we have represented hundreds of people who have suffered personal injury in motor vehicle accidents.  Occasionally, we have even seen cases where personal injury was caused by wearing a seatbelt.  While seatbelts can cause injuries under the right circumstances, the degree and type of injuries caused by seatbelts is usually minor compared to those suffered by unbelted people.

Our observations are supported by studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  In 2001, the NHTSA analyzed seatbelt use in all fatal crashes that year.  They found that 73% of people wearing seatbelts survived these car crashes, compared to only 44% of unbelted people.

While this study offers dramatic evidence of the benefit of wearing seatbelts, a separate NHTSA study is even more indicative of the risk of not wearing seatbelts.  This study found that three out of four people who are ejected from a vehicle in a crash die.  Of the people ejected, fully 99% of them were not wearing a seatbelt.

Some people don’t wear seatbelts because they have heard stories of people choked by the belt or falling out of the vehicle and being dragged.  While these incidents do happen, they are rare.  In our experience, most injuries caused by seatbelts involve shoulder injuries and hip injuries from the belt.  While these injuries can be serious, striking the dashboard or being thrown from the vehicle can have much more devastating results.

Having helped many personal injury victims, we know that no amount of financial compensation can replace your health.  We urge everyone to wear their seatbelts.  If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident and you have questions, please feel free to call us at 716-400-0000.