How Frequent and Costly are Motor Vehicle Accidents?

How Frequent and Costly are Motor Vehicle Accidents?

How Frequent and Costly are Motor Vehicle Accidents? 1

Traffic crashes happen on a daily basis – you only have to surf over to your local news site to read about the latest roadway accidents – but have you ever wondered how often traffic accidents happen and how much they cost us, both individually and as a society?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its latest Vital Signs report, in which it analyzed 2012 visits to hospital emergency departments due to motor vehicle crash injuries. Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, estimates were made as to the number and rate of all crash-related emergency department visits, treated and released visits and hospitalized visits. Estimates were also made of the number of associated hospitalized days and lifetime medical costs.

The results are staggering: more than 2.5 million people went to the emergency room in 2012 because of traffic crash injuries, and out of those 2.5 million, 200,000 were hospitalized. All in all, the CDC estimates that Americans spent a total of more than a million days in the hospital in 2012 as a result of motor vehicle accidents.

The costs are also huge. The estimated lifetime medical costs for those injured totaled approximately $18 billion, and the amount of lifetime work estimated to be lost as a result totaled $33 billion.

Who are at especially high risk for motor vehicle crash injuries? According to the report, teens and young adults, aged 15 to 29, are at highest risk, accounting for 38 percent of all traffic crash injuries, or nearly one million crash injuries. In terms of hospitalization rates, adults older than 80 face the highest risk, with approximately one third of those over 80 injured in a motor vehicle accident hospitalized as a result of a crash.

The good news? These numbers are lower than the numbers from a decade ago. When comparing the 2012 statistics to the 2002 numbers, 2012 saw 400,000 fewer crash-related emergency room visits and 5,700 fewer hospitalizations. These reductions translated into $1.7 billion less in lifetime medical costs and $2.3 billion less in lifetime work loss.


After a car accident, an experienced attorney is one of the few people who will advocate for your best interests. Robert Greening is the principal attorney at Greening Law, P.C. He has dedicated his 24 years of practice to the litigation of wrongful death and serious injury cases. If you have any questions, contact Greening Law, P.C. at 972-934-8900.