It’s a common story: a person is in an accident, but feels fine at the scene and declines medical care. Later, the person discovers that she is more injured than she first believed.

One of the most common but most overlooked signed of trauma is the “seat belt sign,” a cut, bruise, or soreness on upper body where the seat belt crosses the torso. The “seat belt sign” is an important indicator of trauma that might not be otherwise apparent after an accident.

Seat belts are the most important and efficient safety system in an automobile. When worn correctly, seat belts reduce fatalities and serious injury by up to 50%. The unintended but potentially lifesaving results of seat belts are the abrasions they can leave after an accident. The presence of a “seat belt sign,” characterized by cuts, brushing or soreness across the path of the seat belt, indicates an much higher risk of internal abdominal injury. Because internal abdominal injuries are not otherwise visually apparent at the scene of the accident, this can be an important clue for follow-up care.

In particular, if a person has an abrasion across on  the neck, chest, or abdomen, that person has a 30% chance of having suffered an internal injury. The evidence is particularly strong in children who have a seat belt sign, as it is also highly correlative with internal injuries requiring immediate medical attention.

For this reason, a “seat belt sign” can be helpful proving the extent of injuries in an accident, particularly if those injuries were not first apparent at the scene. If you have a visual “seat belt sign” after an accident, it may be advisable to seek medical attention, even if you initially felt fine. Documenting the “seat belt sign” and other physical injuries as soon as possible after an accident can help show the extent of your injury should you ever need to make a claim for compensation.

At Frank Harris Law our experienced, compassionate staff are skilled in handling even the most complex of cases. If you have been involved in an accident, do not wait to get the help you deserve. Call our office at (678) 483-8655 or email us at in order to schedule a consultation today. You can also visit our website at