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Seat belts could save crash victims from severe liver injury

Considering that auto accidents send some 2 million Americans to emergency rooms every year, New Jersey drivers may want to think twice about neglecting to use their seat belts. Researchers at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn have released a study revealing yet another benefit to buckling up; it can lower the risk of severe liver injuries by 21 percent. If combined with properly functioning airbags, that number goes up to 26 percent.

Liver and spleen injuries are a frequent outcome of internal abdominal trauma. While the spleen could be surgically removed in an emergency situation, the liver cannot. In fact, severe liver injuries often result in death. Symptoms of severe liver injuries include ruptured clots and deep lacerations, all of which require immediate treatment.

NYU researchers analyzed six years' worth of patient data from the National Trauma Data Bank. All of the patients were aged 18 or over, had been involved in a vehicle crash (excluding motorcycles) and were either sent to the hospital or passed away en route. A total of 51,202 cases were ranked for severity, and of the patients with severe injuries, 15 percent died. Of those patients with milder injuries, 8 percent died.

It should be noted that while seat belts reduce the injury severity, they do not prevent liver injuries altogether. Airbags alone, however, do not affect the injury severity.

For the victims of car accidents, seat belt use can make a big difference when determining fault. A victim who did not cause the accident may have the grounds for a personal injury claim. If they failed to wear their seat belt, however, their potential settlement might be lower. However, a lawyer could evaluate the case, estimate a settlement and negotiate for maximum compensation.

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