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Seat belts diminish severity of liver injuries

The liver and spleen are the two most commonly injured organs in motor vehicle accidents. While a spleen can be surgically removed in an emergency, a liver cannot, which is why preventing liver injuries is of the utmost importance. New York residents should know that researchers from the NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn have a study out showing the benefits of seat belt use in this regard.

Granted, seat belt use cannot prevent liver injuries, but it can mitigate their severity. Researchers came to this conclusion after studying the National Trauma Data Bank's cases of liver injury from 2010 to 2015. This amounted to more than 52,200 injury cases whose severity could be accurately classified. Patients were all 18 or older, and only vehicle crashes were considered.

The researchers found that 15 percent of the injuries were classified as severe. Low-grade injuries include shallow lacerations and blood clots while severe liver injuries include deep lacerations and uncontrolled bleeding caused by ruptured clots. Of those patients with severe injuries, 15 percent died either on arrival or en route to the hospital. Of those with mild or moderate injuries, 8 percent died.

Seat belt use reduces the likelihood of a severe liver injury by 21 percent. Combined with airbags, it brings the likelihood down by 26 percent. However, those who think airbags are enough protection are mistaken; airbags alone are not shown to lessen injuries to the liver.

In the wake of an auto accident, one of the questions that may be asked is whether the victim was wearing a seat belt. The courts will determine the degree to which both parties were at fault, and this in turn will determine the victim's chances of filing a successful personal injury claim. Those who think they have a strong case may want to have a lawyer assess it. The lawyer might utilize a network of professionals to gather proof before proceeding to negotiations.

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