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Seat belts pose an injury risk for some

When you get injured in a car accident, it's never easy coping with the medical and financial implications. Whether it's a back injury or other type of injury, recovery can be long. You may have been injured due to another driver's negligence. But did you know seat belts could also pose a safety hazard and contribute to injuries in a car accident? Older, smaller drivers are more at risk for being injured in a crash because of one contributing factor: the force of the seatbelt wasn't designed for their body type and size, a study finds.

Many seat belts are designed for middle-aged men - around 40 years old, according to the study - and the amount of force they put on someone who is older, smaller or shorter in body type can lead them to have injuries during a crash. Types of injuries from a seat belt having too much force on your body can include:

  • Rib fractures
  • Chest injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Concussions
  • Back injuries

These injuries could be severe or even deadly. To protect yourself as much as possible from these injuries, researchers recommend adjusting the height of your seat belt, if it is adjustable, to rest on your clavicle instead of resting on your ribs. They also recommend sitting at least 10 to 12 inches away from the air bag.

In the U.S., 43 million drivers are over the age of 65 - an age that has an increased risk of injury or death in a car crash. While seat belts saved approximately 14,000 lives in 2015, the number of drivers over the age of 65 is only expected to increase. It is estimated that by 2045, the number of drivers in the U.S. over age 65 is expected to increase by 77 percent.

Does this mean seat belts do more harm than good, and that people should just not wear seat belts? No. According to researchers, people should still wear their seat belts, regardless of age or body type.

If you have been injured in a car accident, an attorney experienced in motor vehicle accidents and personal injury law can help lighten the burden when it comes to seeking legal help and compensation for your injuries and damages to your vehicle. While you recover, you also want to maintain your financial security, and an attorney can help you do that. You don't have to navigate the legal system or talk to the insurance company alone.

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