Monday, May 7, 2012

Oh No! That Shoulder Belt Might Wrinkle My Shirt!

Improper use or lack of use of a vehicle’s passenger restraint systems can increase your chances of sustaining fatal injuries by 60 percent. Seat belts were designed to spread out the force of the crash over the strongest parts of the body to significantly reduce injuries and to keep you within the vehicle.

The driver and all passengers should use the occupant restraint systems installed by the factory and not exceed the recommended number of passengers for that vehicle. Children should be restrained using a car seat or booster appropriate for their age and size that is installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An unrestrained passenger can move throughout the cabin of the car and either injure other passengers or be ejected.

One of the most common misuses of wearing a seat belt is by placing the shoulder belt or shoulder harness under the arm rather than on the shoulder mainly because the belt is not comfortable on the shoulder, it rubs the neck, or it might wrinkle a shirt. Not only is wearing a seat belt like this in most areas a violation, underarm use of the shoulder belt can cause significant internal or fatal injuries in what could have been a survivable car accident and also cause your upper body to move violently forward in a collision thus defeating the purpose of the shoulder belt. There have also been cases of amputations by wearing a seat belt this way. The shoulder belt should fit crossing the center of your chest and on the shoulder. If the shoulder belt is uncomfortable or does not fit properly, most vehicles allow you to adjust to fit, you can get a device to adjust the belt from the vehicle’s manufacturer, or you can place a comfort sleeve on the belt. You should only get these types of devices from the vehicle’s manufacturer as aftermarket accessories may not have been properly tested.

Being injured in a car accident is a traumatic and stressful event. To make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to such as medical expenses and lost wages, consult with a reputable and experienced personal injury lawyer to review your case.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Protecting Your Neck in Rear End Collisions

As an auto accident attorney in Louisville, Kentucky I have seen many clients who were the victims of rear end collisions and have suffered greatly because of the injuries they sustained. One of the most common is a neck injury known as whiplash.

Whiplash is caused when you get a jolt from behind which causes your head to jerk back and forth. This not a natural movement and our bodies are not made to comfortably do that. This jerking motion affects the muscles and ligaments around the neck and shoulders. It is a painful and lasting injury that can be prevented by a head restraint system that is correctly in place. A head restraint system is what most consider a headrest. It is not a headrest; it is designed to restrict head movement during rear end collisions reducing the chance of neck and shoulder injuries.

A regulation implemented in 2008 governs the placement of the manually adjustable head restraints. They have to be adjustable from no lower than 29.5 inches to at least 31.5 inches from the occupant’s hips. Taking the time to adjust your head restraint is properly adjusted in case you are involved in a collision.

Of the three head restraints available; manual, automatic and dynamic, the dynamic is thought to be the most effective. Dynamic head restraint systems are designed to deploy automatically in the case of an accident. They also incorporate the seatback in the system which in effect cradles the body as well as supporting the head in an accident.

If the cars you and your loved ones are driving have manual head restraint systems please take the time to properly adjust them. It could save a lot of future pain.