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Study shows that seat belts reduce the risk for liver injuries

Every year in North Carolina and across the U.S., car collisions result in about 2 million emergency visits as well as tens of thousands of deaths. Those who survive crashes usually come away with injuries such as blunt abdominal trauma to the liver or spleen. While a bleeding spleen could be surgically removed as a last resort, the same cannot be done for the liver because it's so critical to life.

A study by researchers at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn has shown that seat belt use can reduce the risk for a severe liver injury by as much as 21 percent. Together with an airbag, seat belts can reduce the risk by 26 percent. While completely eliminating the risk of liver damage was not possible, the authors are firm about the importance of wearing seat belts. The study shows that airbags alone cannot reduce the severity of a liver injury.

Vehicle crash data from the National Trauma Data Bank, spanning the years 2010 to 2015, formed the basis of the study. Of all the cases analyzed, 51,202 could be categorized as mild, moderate or severe. Fifteen percent of the patients who suffered severe liver injuries died. This is contrasted with an 8 percent fatality rate among those with mild or moderate injuries.

Seat belt use can be a major factor in whether auto accident victims are eligible for compensation. Those who believe they were not at fault can consider a case evaluation at a personal injury firm. Contributory negligence (e.g., if the victim neglected to wear a seat belt) may not automatically make a claim void, but it could make the case harder to argue and lower the potential settlement. However, a lawyer can handle all negotiations with the auto insurance agents.

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