The People’s Lawyer

Seatbelt use linked with lower risk of severe liver injury

by | May 16, 2018 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

While many drivers in West Virginia think that wearing a seatbelt is unnecessary, the proof of its effectiveness is stacked against them. A recent study from NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn adds to that list, as researchers have found that seatbelt use lowers the risk for severe liver injuries in a car accident.

Injuries to the liver, along with the spine, are the frequent result of internal abdominal trauma. Mild symptoms include shallow lacerations and blood clots, and these usually don’t require surgery. Severe symptoms require immediate treatment. Liver injuries are more likely to be fatal because, unlike spleens, livers cannot be surgically removed as a last resort. When drivers remember that every year in America, accidents lead to 2 million emergency room visits, they might rethink their current habits.

The study was based on the 2010-2015 crash data found in the National Trauma Data Bank. Researchers ranked a total of 51,202 cases in terms of injury severity: 15 percent of the people who suffered severe liver injuries died, compared to 8 percent of patients who suffered mild or moderate injuries.

Seatbelt use lowered the risk for severe liver injuries by 21 percent and 26 percent if combined with working airbags. Airbags and seatbelts depend on each other, and airbags alone, researchers found, cannot even reduce the injury severity.

Accident victims must be honest about whether or not they were wearing a seatbelt, as it will most likely be noted in the police report and can be used against them if they file a claim. Any auto accident attorney knows, however, that contributory negligence does not necessarily rule out the possibility of a settlement; it will simply lower the amount achievable. Victims may benefit from hiring an attorney to negotiate for them and take the case to court if negotiations fall through.