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When should you worry about a torso bruise after a car accident?

If you are ever in a serious motor vehicle accident, you are undoubtedly going to be thankful for your car’s seat belts. After all, according to the Insurance Insitute for Highway Safety, wearing a seat belt reduces a driver’s risk of dying in a crash by more than 60%. The numbers are similar for front-seat passengers.

To do its job properly, a seat belt must stop your body from moving forward. This requires resisting considerable gravitational forces. Consequently, it is not uncommon for drivers to have bruises across their torsos after car accidents.

Bruises may only be skin deep

Bruising happens when small blood vessels and capillaries beneath the skin break. This causes blood to enter the surrounding tissue. While unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable, bruises usually should not cause you much concern. Indeed, they typically go away on their own within a week or two.

Bruises can be serious

While many bruises are only skin-deep, others can be symptoms of serious injuries. For example, if you have internal bleeding after a car accident, you may develop a midsection bruise. Likewise, the earliest indicator of organ damage may be a bruise to your torso.

If your bruise comes with one or more of the following, you should go to the emergency room immediately:

  • Extreme pain
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Mobility difficulties or paralysis
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Blood in your urine or stool

In the aftermath of a car accident, you simply may not be able to distinguish between a harmless bruise and a potentially life-threatening one. Ultimately, it is advisable to let experienced medical professionals give you the answer.