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Seat belts reduce severity of liver injuries in crashes

Liver injuries are a common and potentially deadly consequence of traffic accidents. However, car crash victims in Oklahoma and elsewhere are less likely to suffer a severe liver injury if they wear a seat belt, according to a recent study.

Researchers from New York University Langone Hospital-Brooklyn analyzed data from the National Trauma Data Bank on car accident patients from 2010 through 2015. The patients were all age 18 or older and were admitted to a hospital or died at or en route to a hospital. Of 51,202 patients with liver injuries, around 15 percent had severe liver injuries, which means the liver was ruptured with uncontrollable bleeding, had deep lacerations or had other types of severe wounds that required emergency surgery. The remaining patients had mild or moderate liver injuries, which means the liver had blood clots, shallow lacerations or other wounds that did not require immediate surgery.

The study found that around 15 percent of patients with severe liver injuries died. In comparison, only 8 percent of patients with mild or moderate liver injuries died. The study also determined that seat belts and air bags played a major role in protecting car crash victims from severe liver injuries. For example, patients who were wearing seat belts were 21 percent less likely to suffer severe liver injuries. Meanwhile, those using seat belts and air bags were 26 percent less likely to suffer severe liver trauma. The study was published in the March 2018 edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Car accidents are frequently caused by negligent drivers, including drivers who are distracted, reckless or impaired. Individuals injured by a negligent driver have the right to pursue compensation for their losses in civil court. A personal injury attorney may be able to help prepare a victim's claim and negotiate a fair settlement.

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