Tampa consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous cities to drive. According to one analysis, Tampa was the 11th most dangerous city in the country for car accidents. This position was worse than some of the nation’s largest and busiest cities, like New York City and Houston.
Wearing a seat belt gives you the best chance to survive a crash. Seat belts have saved more lives than any other safety technology, including airbags and electronic stability control. But to save your life, seat belts can transmit powerful forces to your chest and abdomen that can injure you.
If you’ve sustained seat belt injuries after a collision in Tampa, FL, contact us online or call Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at (813) 223-6200 with an experienced attorney.
How Our Tampa Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You Pursue Compensation for Your Seat Belt Injuries
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers was established in 2001 to provide high-quality representation to accident victims in Tampa, Florida. Over the past two decades, our Tampa car accident attorneys have earned a reputation as “aggressive attorneys” who stand up to at-fault parties and their insurers to get results for injured clients.
When you hire our firm, you’ll receive:
- A free initial consultation where we can discuss your accident and your right to pursue personal injury compensation
- The benefit of our 119 years of combined legal experience fighting for accident victims like you
- A team of experienced litigators who have recovered millions of dollars in compensation from the country’s largest insurance companies
- Experienced representation throughout your case, including during the negotiation phase and at trial, if necessary
A car accident can disable you from earning a living or caring for your loved ones. Contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the compensation you can seek for your seat belt injuries under Florida law.
How Many Motorists Suffer Seat Belt Injuries in Florida?
Florida does not release statistics about seat belt injuries. But studies show that about 5% of crash victims experience serious seat belt injuries. A serious seat belt injury will require medical treatment or even cause death.
But this number includes:
- 520 riders injured in motorcycle accidents
- 435 cyclists injured in bicycle accidents
- 563 people injured in pedestrian accidents
Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians cannot suffer seat belt injuries. Subtracting these accident victims from the total leaves 17,609 injured motorists. Using the estimate of 5%, roughly 880 car accident victims suffered serious seat belt injuries in 2022 in Hillsborough County.
Several hundred more suffered minor seat belt injuries. These injuries often go unreported because they do not require medical treatment.
How Do Seat Belt Injuries Occur?
Seat belt injuries result from a few different causes, including:
With proper use under normal conditions, the sheer force involved in a collision can cause a seat belt injury. All the forces needed to stop your body in a crash get focused on a narrow band of material across your chest and waist. These forces can damage soft tissues and even break your bones as they get compressed against the seat belt.
Improper Seat Belt Use
The odds of a seat belt injury increase when the seat belt sits in the wrong position. If the lap portion of the seat belt sits on your abdomen, you risk abdominal injury. And if the shoulder portion crosses your neck, a crash could injure or even break your neck.
Manufacturers design seat belts to cross your chest and hips. But your height, shoulder width, and waist size can affect where the seat belt crosses your body. Most modern cars allow you to adjust the seat and seat belt to put it into the correct position.
Seat Belt Malfunction
Seat belts can malfunction due to damage during the crash or defective parts. For example, the anchor or buckle could come loose, or the locking mechanism could break. When a seat belt malfunctions, you could get tossed around the inside of your vehicle as if you had no seat belt on.
Common Seat Belt Injuries
Seat belts can produce a range of fatal and non-fatal injuries, including:
Chest bruises are the most common form of seat belt injury. Bruises happen when an impact breaks blood vessels under the skin. As a result, you experience temporary pain, swelling, and discoloration.
Broken Sternum and Ribs
The forces transmitted to your chest by a seat belt can fracture the ribs or sternum. Symptoms of broken bones in your chest include pain, particularly while breathing, and stiffness.
Broken bones usually take six to eight weeks to heal. During that time, you will probably need to limit your work and home activities.
Spine injuries can result when a seat belt sits in the wrong position. Injuries to the vertebrae, discs, and ligaments of the spine can happen when your seat belt causes your body to hyperextend unnaturally.
The two most common injuries happen when your seat belt presses on your neck — leading to cervical spine injuries — or crosses your abdomen, which can lead to lumbar spine injuries.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Tampa Car Accident Attorneys To Discuss Your Seat Belt Injuries
Liability for seat belt injuries can fall on the at-fault driver or even the auto manufacturer. Our passionate lawyers can fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation to discuss your seat belt injuries and your legal options.
Our lawyers handle all accident cases, including:
- Distracted Driving
- DUI accidents
- Speeding accidents
- Head-on crashes
- Highway crashes
- Hit & run accidents
- Intersection crashes
- Lane change crashes
- Left-turn accidents
- Multi-vehicle car crashes
- Parking lot accidents
- Rear-end crashes
- Recreational vehicle accidents
- Red and yellow light accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Single-vehicle accidents
Additional Car Accident Resources
- Most Dangerous Roads and Intersections
- Car color & crash risk
- Florida car inspection laws
- Florida child car seat laws
- Passenger negligence
- Road defects
- Tampa car accident frequently asked questions
- What to do after a car accident in Tampa
- Can I be compensated for pre-existing conditions after a Tampa car accident?