VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Seat belts can lower the risk for serious liver injuries

While auto accidents lead to at least 2 million visits to U.S. emergency rooms every year, many drivers in Florida may think that seat belts are unnecessary. However, a study released by NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn gives one more good reason why seat belts are essential for safety.

It should first be noted that many car crash victims suffer from internal abdominal trauma characterized by symptoms like lacerations and blood clots. This trauma usually affects the liver and spleen. But while a severely injured spleen can be removed as a last resort, the liver cannot. Severe liver injuries often end in death.

The study analyzed crash data from the National Trauma Data Bank, all of it spanning the years 2010 to 2015. There were exactly 51,202 cases of liver injury in which severity could be calculated. Of the patients who were classified as suffering from severe liver injuries, 15 percent died. Yet researchers found that those who wore seat belts were 21 percent less likely to suffer from severe injuries.

Some might think they can neglect their seat belts as long as their airbags are functional. However, the study shows that airbags alone do not reduce the severity of liver injuries. It should also be noted that neither safety device can completely prevent the liver from being injured.

Victims of auto accidents who believe they were not at fault may have the grounds for a personal injury claim. A successful claim could cover medical expenses, vehicle damage, pain and suffering and more. They will want to see a lawyer beforehand, however, as legal counsel could give an honest evaluation of a case.

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