Cause of Nonfatal Unintentional Injuries


Lead Author(s): 

Andrew N. Pollak, MD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

The CDC reported that 30 million unintentional injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments in 2011. Of these 30 million, 90%, or 27.2 million patients, were treated and released. The remaining 10% were hospitalized. These numbers are very similar to those reported in the national health care databases (29.1 million, 91% treated in the ED, 9% hospitalized). (Reference Table 6A.3.2.1 PDF CSV)

Falls are the most common cause of nonfatal unintentional injuries, and are responsible for slightly more than 3 in 10 injuries overall. For injuries in which the person is hospitalized, falls account for nearly one in two. Other forms of trauma are described as the cause in the majority of injury visits to an emergency department in the national health care databases, accounting for 54% of all the injury visits. Among persons hospitalized, trauma other than falls was the cause in 27% of the discharges. The CDC breaks down the cause of unintentional injuries into more categories. (Reference Table 6A.3.2.4 PDF CSV)
Cause of Unintentional Injuries Treated In Emergency Departments, United States 2011
In 2011, the overall rate of visits to an emergency department for treatment of unintentional injuries was 87.2 per 1,000 persons. When visits for which the patient was hospitalized are included, the rate increases to 96.4 per 1,000, or roughly 1 in 100 persons who are treated for an injury in an emergency department in a given year. The rate per injury by cause varies significantly by age of the patient. For example, while falls have an overall rate of 29.7 per 1,000 persons, among persons age 74 to 85 years the rate increases to 64.9. For persons age 85 years and older, it jumps to 141.6 per 1,000. (Reference Table 6A.3.2.2 PDF CSV)
Rate of Nonfatal Unintentional Injuries Treated in Emergency Department by Age, United States 2011


  • 2014

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