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Seatbelt use found to be effective at reducing liver injuries

Emergency room doctors in Georgia and around the country treat about 2 million car accident victims every year. This places a huge financial burden on the health care sector, but treatment costs could be reduced significantly if all road users fastened their seatbelts, according to a recent study. Researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center and New York University studied medical records to find out how effective seatbelts are at preventing serious liver injuries. They found that being properly restrained reduced such injuries by 21 percent.

The study was based on information gathered by the National Trauma Data Bank. The researchers studied the cases of 51,202 road users who suffered abdominal injuries in automobile accidents that took place between 2010 and 2015. Reducing the severity of abdominal injuries is important because accident victims who suffer serious liver injuries are about twice as likely to die as those who suffer mild to moderate injuries.

Less severe liver injuries are also less likely to necessitate dangerous surgeries. While 14 percent of the car accident victims diagnosed with serious liver injuries required surgical intervention, only 5 percent of the road users who suffered mild or moderate injuries required surgery. Adding airbags to the equation provides passenger vehicle occupants with even more protection and reduces the chances of suffering a serious liver injury by a further 5 percent.

Road users are expected to take reasonable care and do all that they can to protect themselves from injury. Therefore, car accident victims who were not properly restrained when they crashed may be awarded reduced damages for failing to meet this duty. In these situations, experienced personal injury attorneys may consult with medical specialists to find out how badly their clients would have been injured if they were wearing their seatbelts. This evidence could then be used to help fight for an adequate settlement.