Wearing your seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle is one of the more effective ways to avoid a serious injury in a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts also saved nearly 15,000 lives in one recent year alone.
While your seat belt may prevent you from dying in a car crash, it may also cause a belt-shaped bruise to appear across your midsection. Unlike many other bruises, you should not take this one lightly. Here are three things you should know about chest bruising after a motor vehicle accident.
1. You need medical attention
Because of your body’s stress response, you may not notice injury symptoms immediately after the accident. Because you may not realize you have suffered an injury until hours or even days later, you should always seek prompt medical attention following any car crash.
2. Your vital organs may have injuries
If the impact of your collision is great enough to cause you to have severe bruising to your torso, there is a chance your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, spleen or other vital organs may have sustained a serious injury. In fact, accident-related organ damage is so common doctors have coined an expression, “seat belt syndrome,” to describe it.
3. Your skin may never return to normal
While your chest bruise may be evidence of internal injuries, you may also have to contend with the physical scars of midsection bruising for the rest of your life. If your skin never returns to normal, you may struggle with your body image. Regrettably, discolored or scarred skin may also cause you to experience depression, anxiety or even intimacy issues.