Study finds seat belts reduce severity of liver injuries

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Study finds seat belts reduce severity of liver injuries

Illinois drivers and passengers can lessen the severity of crash-related liver injuries by wearing a seat belt, according to a new study. The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Researchers studied data from the National Trauma Data Bank to identify 51,202 people who sustained a liver injury in a car accident between 2010 and 2015. All the victims were at least 18 years old, and they either were admitted to the hospital or passed away while undergoing emergency treatment. The study found that 15 percent of the victims suffered severe liver injuries. Of that group, 15 percent died. The remaining victims suffered mild or moderate liver injuries, and only 8 percent of them died. People who were wearing seat belts reduced their risk of a severe liver injury by 21 percent. Individuals who wore their seat belts and were protected by airbags reduced their risk of a severe liver injury by 26 percent. However, airbags alone did not seem to reduce the risk of someone incurring a liver injury.

According to medical experts, the liver and spleen are two of the most commonly injured internal organs in car crashes. Injuries to these organs can cause severe bleeding, but damage to the liver is considered more dangerous. While the spleen can be safely removed to stop the bleeding, the liver is essential to life and cannot be taken out. If this vital organ cannot be surgically repaired, an injured victim will die.

Car accidents are often the result of negligent behaviors, including distracted driving, drunk driving and speeding. Victims of these accidents could have the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible drivers. An attorney could review a victim’s case and work to negotiate a settlement for damages.