If you have a high-impact automobile accident, there is a good chance your torso may push up against your car’s locked seat belt. While your seat belt certainly may save your life, you may also walk away from the crash with a nasty bruise across your midsection.
Unlike many bruises that are more cosmetic than a health risk, a seat belt bruise may indicate a medical emergency. Rather than ignoring your bruise, you should always go to the emergency room or otherwise seek a medical examination. After all, your bruise may be a symptom of seat belt syndrome.
Seat belt syndrome
Seat belt syndrome is simply the collective name doctors assign to a host of injuries that seat belts may cause in motor vehicle accidents. While your seat belt syndrome may only be a bruise, you may also have serious bodily harm, including any of the following:
- Fractured ribs, bones or vertebrae
- Bruised, torn or lacerated organs
- Torn, strained or sprained muscles
- Bruised, torn or severed spinal cord
- Damaged soft tissues
Remember, your body’s stress response may hide injury symptoms. That is, you may not realize you have sustained a serious injury until hours or even days after the crash.
Because they see many car accident victims, doctors in the emergency room are familiar with seat belt syndrome. When examining you, they may use a variety of diagnostic techniques to rule out serious injuries.
These may include blood tests, x-rays and CT scans. If a diagnostic tool concerns doctors, they may hold you in the hospital for observation.