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Car crash study shows seat belts lessen liver injury severity

Many motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey result in blunt abdominal trauma with two of the most frequently damaged organs being the liver and spleen. In the case of a severe injury, the spleen can be removed but not the liver, which is why everything possible should be done to protect against liver injuries. One important step is to use the seat belt.

Researchers from the NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn analyzed car crash data that the National Trauma Data Bank had recorded from 2010 to 2015, finding over 52,200 liver injury cases that could be accurately classified for severity. Of these, 15 percent were severe, and of those patients, 15 percent died. About 8 percent with mild or moderate liver injuries died.

Severe liver injuries include uncontrolled blood loss from ruptured blood clots and deep lacerations. Blunt trauma to the liver can also result in complications like bile leakage, the formation of abscesses and even the development of jaundice when the liver can no longer filter metabolites.

With seat belt use, the chances of a severe liver injury drop by 21 percent. Seat belts and airbags together lower the chances by 26 percent although airbags alone provide no similar benefit. While the conclusions may seem obvious, they serve as a reminder to drivers who believe that seat belts are harmful or that airbags alone are sufficient.

Those who fail to wear a seat belt and who incur a car accident injury could be left with severe injuries. At the same time, their chances of being compensated for those injuries and other losses will be slimmer since they may have been negligent. If they are more than half at fault, they will be barred from recovery. Those who intend to file a claim may want a lawyer's representation, especially when the time comes for negotiating a settlement.

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