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Seat belt use found to reduce the severity of liver injuries

Road safety advocates in Oklahoma and around the country have long called for stricter seat belt laws, and the results of a study published recently in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health could add weight to their arguments. A team of researchers studied traffic accident figures from the National Trauma Data Bank gathered between 2010 and 2015, and they discovered that passenger vehicle occupants who fastened their seat belts were far less likely to suffer fatal liver injuries in a crash.

This is an important discovery because the liver and spleen are the organs most often injured in car accidents. While a ruptured spleen can be removed, the liver performs vital life functions and must be left in place. The researchers found that using seat belts did not prevent liver injuries, but it did make them less severe. Car accident victims with severe liver injuries died 15 percent of the time according to the study, but this figure fell to just 8 percent among vehicle occupants who suffered less severe liver injuries.

The road safety study also reveals that motorists who believe that airbags provide all of the crash protection they need may wish to think again. While the researchers found that a combination of airbags and seat belts provided vehicle occupants with the most protection against liver injuries, they also discovered that airbags alone did little to reduce their severity.

Seat belt use is a subject that is often raised during car accident lawsuits by negligent motorists who claim that accident victims could have avoided injury entirely. Experienced personal injury attorneys might call on accident investigators and medical experts to refute these arguments, and they may also point out to their clients that accident victims in Oklahoma are generally able to pursue civil remedies even if they may have acted negligently.

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