U.S. Injury Report: 50 Million Injuries a Year; Lifetime Costs Top $406 Billion

April 18, 2006

The lifetime cost of injuries occurring in a single year in the U.S. totals an estimated $406 billion in medical expenses and productivity losses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly $80.2 billion is attributed to medical expenses, while $326 billion is estimated for lifetime productivity losses (including lost wages, fringe benefits, and ability to perform normal household responsibilities) for the almost 50 million injuries that required medical treatment in 2000.

The costs begin to accumulate when the injuries occur and are spread over each injured persons’ expected lifetime, according to the CDC.

“The financial and economic impact of injuries in the United States is serious,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. “However, by expanding our science-based injury prevention programs, we can drastically reduce these costs and even more importantly help people live longer and healthier lives.”

Researchers noted that actual costs of injuries are likely greater than the figure reported since police services, caregiver time, costs for pain and suffering, and other non-monetary costs are not included in this analysis.

The new data and findings were released in the book, The Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States, authored by scientists from the CDC, along with scientific research contractors at RTI International and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

The book makes use of 2000 data to update and expand a 1989 report to Congress.

Additional findings include:

Males account for approximately 70 percent ($283 billion) of the total costs of injuries, largely due to higher rates of fatal injury and the magnitude of their lost wages.

Persons aged 25 to 44 years represent 30 percent of the U.S. population and 40 percent ($164 billion) of the total costs of injuries.

Motor vehicle account for 22 percent ($89 billion) and fall injuries account for 20 percent ($81 billion) of the total costs of injuries.

“Many of the nearly 50 million injuries that occur each year in the United States are preventable,” said Dr. Ileana Arias, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention. “To accomplish that, though, we need greater recognition of the value of our prevention efforts.”

CDC reserchers said the study shows the benefits of preventing things like motor vehicle crashes, falls, residential fires, childhood abuses and other injuries are significant.

Source: CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/injury

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