You wouldn’t believe the irony we see by way of accident claims. From women slipping up on their own dog’s, erm, doings to well-catalogued incidents of burglars cutting their hands on glass they themselves have broken.
Okay, they’re not laugh-out-loud funny, but a wry smile brought on by divine justice sometimes cannot be avoided.
There are arguable cases of irony that are perhaps neither so funny and equally less avoidable. One of the main instances is injury from seat belts.
Thirty years of seat belt legislation
It’s been some years now since the seatbelt law was passed. Indeed, it celebrates three decades of legislation this year. It had its critics then (and some), but not so many no.
Seatbelts are a necessary evil. Indeed, the number of lives saved by seat belts is estimated at just under 10,000 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
However, not everyone walks away from an RTA praising seat belts for the injury they’ve saved.
Rather, for those who have suffered injury through wearing a seat belt, the pain is all to real. And we’re not talking a spurious whiplash injury.
Seat belt injury extends much further than just whiplash
Seat belt technology has come a long way since they were first introduced over 60 years ago. In the most modern vehicles, they are designed to disperse the force one would be subjected too at the moment of impact.
For a typical seatbelt wearer, injury to their ribs and hips, the places where the belt crosses the body are the most commonplace and less impactful on the victim’s life.
In the event of a larger RTA or if the seat belt isn’t being worn properly, “seat belt syndrome” can cause much more significant damage than a little bruising of the bone.
Ruptures or lacerations of internal organs where the belt passes across soft body tissue beneath the solar plexus are particularly nasty.
Soft tissue areas are most susceptible to seat belt injury
A layer of fat is no protection from the BHP of a supercar stopping suddenly or the collision at speed that engages the tough material.
All of the organs are susceptible, depending upon the circumstances of the crash. The liver and spleen can easily be lacerated in the right circumstances.
Likewise, your tummy, bowel and colon can all suffer lacerations, along with damage to the pancreas, spine and vascular injuries, too.
Seat belts go way beyond a simple whiplash claim. Although, for the good it’s suggested they do, there will be no immediate plans to change the law. Far too many lives are saved annually in comparison for that to be the case.
If you have suffered from the seat belt itself, or if it’s failed to work on impact, you can still consider an accident claim for the damage and inconvenience caused by such a traumatic event.
There’s no danger of the defence arguing that you shouldn’t have been wearing one and, in most cases, the injuries are serious enough to warrant a hospital visit, hence the medical reports will be on file already.
Yes, it’s ironic that the seat belts installed to save your life can end up causing you tremendous pain.
However, the consequences of not wearing one in an accident that could cause injury by default would be a lot worse for the individual had they not belted up before setting off.
As they used to say:
Clunk, Click, every trip
Sound advice, because wearing a seat belt could be the difference between a minor and major trauma in the event of a collision