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Seat belts: They don't always prevent harm

If you're like most Americans, you grew up with a responsible mother who required you to wear your seat belt, and you've continued that habit into adulthood. It's certainly true that wearing a seat belt reduces your chances of serious injury and death in an auto collision exponentially; however, seat belts can cause injuries as well.

The pain and injuries inflicted by seat belts are worth the reward of having your life saved, so don't let anyone try to fool you into believing that seat belts should be avoided. Nevertheless, you may want to familiarize yourself with some of the common repercussions of seat belt use, which -- in a serious car crash -- may include:

-- Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries;

-- Bruises on the body where it makes contact with the seat belt;

-- Abdominal injury;

-- Internal bleeding; and

-- Chest-related injuries.

Pregnant women and children may be especially susceptible to seat belt-related injuries if they fail to use a seat belt properly. Small children should use booster seats so that the seat belts safely go across their bodies, and pregnant woman should not allow seat belt straps to go across their abdomens.

Believe it or not, defendants who cause serious and injurious car accidents might try to use your use of a seat belt against you in a motor vehicle accident case by saying that the way you used a seat belt contributed to the worsening of your injuries. However, plaintiffs should not be overly concerned about such a weak defense tactic. If you were hurt by a negligent or unlawful driver in Pennsylvania, the courts will generally side with you regardless of the way you used your seat belt.

Source: FindLaw, "Car Accident Seat Belt Injuries," accessed June 09, 2017

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