The total estimated lifetime medical and work loss costs associated with fatal and non-fatal injuries in the United States was $671 billion in 2013, according to research released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The costs associated with fatal injuries was $214 billion while nonfatal injuries accounted for $457 billion, more than twice as much as the costs associated with fatal injuries.
Researchers found that 193,000 injury deaths occur each year which translates to one death every three minutes.
The research also found injuries are the leading cause of death among people ages 1 to 44, with motor vehicles as the leading cause of death – 33,000 people died in car crashes in 2013.
The cost data presented in this report represent an important update of previously used cost of injury data and document significant increases in the cost of both fatal and nonfatal injury. The increases reflect changes in: 1) methodology, including the use of current dollars (cost of medical care, and worker earnings) and changes in population, and 2) injury trends, including increases in poisoning, suicide and falls.
Other key findings of the research:
- Over half of the total medical and work loss costs of injury deaths were attributable to unintentional injuries ($129.7 billion), followed by suicide ($50.8 billion) and homicide ($26.4 billion).
- Drug poisonings accounted for the largest share of fatal injury costs (27%), followed by transportation (23%) and firearm-related injuries (22%).
- The total estimated lifetime medical and work loss costs for hospitalized injuries were $289.7 billion in 2013 while the costs for injuries that were treated and released in hospital and emergency departments were $167.1 billion.
- Falls (37%) and transportation-related injuries (21%) accounted for a majority of the medical and work loss costs associated with emergency department treated nonfatal injuries.
- Males accounted for a majority (78%) of economic costs for injury deaths ($166.7 billion) and nonfatal injuries (63%; $287.5 billion).
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