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Seat belts reduce the severity of car crash liver injuries

All passenger vehicle occupants in Texas are required to fasten their seat belts, and road safety advocacy groups have long campaigned for similar laws to be adopted across the country. It is well documented that seat belts can save lives, and a study reveals that they can also reduce the chances of suffering a severe liver injury. The research team's findings were published online on March 29 by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The road safety study was based on car accident statistics collected between 2010 and 2015 by the National Trauma Data Bank. In addition to discovering that seat belt use significantly reduced the severity of liver injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents, the researchers found that crash victims who suffered serious liver damage succumbed to their injuries almost twice as often as those who suffered moderate or minor liver damage.

Some motorists believe that fastening their seat belts is unnecessary if their vehicles are equipped with airbags, but the research team found that airbags alone provide little protection against severe liver injuries. These findings are significant because liver and spleen injuries are very common in motor vehicle accidents. While damaged spleens can be removed safely, the liver performs crucial life functions and must remain in place.

Assigning fault in car accident lawsuits can be a nebulous process, and the defendants in these cases often point to police reports or other evidence revealing that crash victims were not properly restrained. Experienced personal injury attorneys may argue these issues vigorously as civil plaintiffs who are more than 50 percent responsible for causing the accidents that injured them are unable to recover damages under Texas law.

Source: The National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Seat Belt Laws"

Source: The Texas State Legislature, "Proportionate Responsibility". Both accessed on May 13, 2017

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