Personal Injury Statistics in 2023

Learn more about personal injury statistics in the United States as of 2023. In this article, we cover stats about the different types of personal injury, demographics and insurance.

Personal Injury Statistics in 2023 - Learn more about personal injury statistics in the US
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Personal Injury Statistics in 2023

Getting hurt is part of life, but financial consequences can sting just as severely when an injury is serious enough to need medical attention. Personal injuries are rising in the U.S. as populations grow. But victims can take action to negate these realities and lessen their effects. 

Key Takeaways

  • A personal injury is any harm caused by an accident, event, or another person, regardless of whether it was intentional.
  • Personal injuries affect millions of Americans annually, spanning different age groups, genders, and racial or ethnic communities.
  • The cost of personal injuries is estimated to be in the trillions and impacts victims, workplaces, governments, and families. 
  • Managing the aftermath of a personal injury often involves legal proceedings, which may add more costs to consider.

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Types of Personal Injury

A “personal injury” can include any physical or psychological damage caused by an event, whether intentional or not. Personal injuries remain one of the most common causes of death in the United States.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 57.5 million people visited physician’s offices for personal injuries in 2018. This figure includes injuries sustained from medical treatment. 
  • As of 2021, the number of deaths for all unintentional injuries was 224,935, or 67.8 deaths per 100,000 people. This makes accidental injuries the number 4 cause of death in the U.S.

Injuries, big and small, can have serious consequences for victims. Being aware of the most common injuries can help you avoid them and prepare you to navigate them should they occur. 

The umbrella term “personal injury” includes many categories of harm, each of which comes with its own unique causes and impacts.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Broken bones and head trauma are common injuries in car accidents that cost victims time, money, and emotional resources. Motor vehicle accidents are also a leading cause of injuries across the board, including those that lead to death.

Because car crash injuries are so common, they’re one of the largest financial drains people face on average. 

  • Total motor-vehicle injury costs for accidents in 2021 were estimated at $498.3 billion. These costs include wage losses, medical expenses, property damage, and employer costs.

Many people, if not most, will experience an automobile accident at some point in their time on the road. While traffic accidents may be somewhat inevitable, many are preventable and influenced by factors like distracted driving, driving under the influence, and failing to follow traffic laws.

Workplace Accidents

A large portion of yearly injuries occurs on the job. Workplace accidents can occur due to unsafe working conditions, but they may also occur due to natural risks a job creates.

Workplace accidents come with a dual-pronged threat. They can cause serious injuries and lead to wage losses that compound their financial burden.

Slip and Fall Accidents

It’s easy to overlook slips and falls; minor occurrences happen regularly to many people without consequence. However, slip and fall accidents can be severe, if not fatal, under the right circumstances. 

  • According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), 44,686 people sustained fatal injuries from unintentional falls in 2021.
  • The number of deaths caused by slip and fall accidents was estimated to be around 13.5 deaths per 100,000 people. (2021)
  • Workplace injury cases involving falls, slips, and trips reached 211,640 in 2020.
  • Approximately one out of five falls caused a serious injury like broken bones or a head injury. (2023)

Something as simple and quick as a fall down the stairs or in the shower may lead to lifelong impacts. This can be true no matter how mild or severe a fall is. 

  • Falls are responsible for over 800,000 hospitalizations each year. (2023)
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury. Falls can cause head injuries that may lead to serious consequences or death. (2023)
  • Many people become afraid of falling after an accident, even if they aren’t injured. As a result, they may avoid or cut down on daily activities, which causes them to become weaker and increase their risk of future falls. (2023)

Because slips and falls can often be the byproduct of an unsafe work environment, they’re a common source of legal disputes. They also disproportionately impact older adults.

  • Slips and falls have historically been the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims. They are also the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 or older. (2021)

Medical Malpractice

The term “medical malpractice” describes injuries that occur as a direct result of unfit medical treatment. Malpractice doesn’t necessarily mean a provider has intentionally or maliciously failed to perform their job. Instead, it refers to oversights, mistakes, and poor decisions that lead to health concerns, injuries, or even death. 

  • One recent study by a John Hopkins University research team suggested that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. (2016)
  • The survey found that 10% of all U.S. deaths were due to medical error, accounting for an estimated 251,454 deaths yearly. (2016)
  • Researchers believe that most medical errors are caused not by bad doctors but by systemic problems like fragmented insurance networks, the underuse of safety nets, and poorly coordinated care. (2016)

The prevalence of medical malpractice injuries has sparked debate over tort laws and tort trials. Tort laws are designed to compensate a person for the wrongdoing or harm of another. But because most medical malpractice cases involve unintentional harm, professionals and patients alike are interested in protecting themselves. 

  • Despite substantial tort reform surrounding this topic, the American Medical Association estimates that one in three clinicians will face medical malpractice trials at least once during their careers. 
  • Medical malpractice claims have an insurance payout success rate of around 20%. Physicians prevail in around 80% of cases.
  • Among those compensated by medical malpractice claims, the majority were those who suffered lifelong major injuries. Those with temporary or emotional injuries fared worse. (2004)

Product Liability

When a product injures a consumer, companies may be held legally accountable. Plaintiffs often receive payouts in product liability cases when they can prove that a product is defective, no matter the manufacturer’s intent.

  • 11.7 million people were treated in emergency departments for injuries caused by consumer products, including defective products. (2021)
  • The number one cause of product-related injuries was stairs, ramps, landings, and floors. (2021)
  • The second most common culprit was beds, pillows, and mattresses. Chairs, sofas, and sofa beds rank as the third most common cause of injuries. (2021)

Assault and Battery

Injuries that result from aggravated assault or similar crimes are typically managed through intentional tort trials. While personal injury lawsuits help thousands of victims receive compensation, assault rates are high enough to continuously cause financial strain.

Even if assault or crime doesn’t cause injuries itself, property loss and damage tack on additional costs that victims must navigate. 

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While personal injuries affect people from all walks of life, they tend to impact some groups more than others. This is typically due to sociopolitical factors that affect how likely a person is to work and live in certain environments, face obstacles, and access preventative care services.

For instance, some types of injuries occur in specific populations more often than others:

  • Workplace fatalities and injuries disproportionately affected Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino workers. Transportation accidents were the highest cause of fatalities for both groups. (2021)

Age and Gender

Gender and age can affect the type of injury a person is likely to experience and the severity of their financial needs. 

  • The chances of being injured intentionally are higher for women than men. For instance, women comprised around 8.6% of workplace fatalities but represented 14.5% of intentional injuries by another person. (2021) 
  • Older adults are the most likely to suffer from slips and falls. Three million older people (65 or older) were treated in emergency departments for fall injuries yearly. (2023)
  • Motor vehicle accident injuries affect people ages 25-44 more than any other group. While older adults may be likely to sustain injuries from crashes, accidents occur far more often in younger adults. (2021)
  • Due to hormonal and biological differences, women are generally more prone to knee and bone injuries. (2023)
  • Men are more likely to be injured by falls and slips than women. They also are more prone to injuries from contact with other objects (i.e., machinery, tools, etc.). (2021)

Regional Personal Injury Data

Personal injuries happen the most where, perhaps unsurprisingly, there are many people to impact. 

  • States east of Illinois in the U.S. account for around half of workplace injuries and fatalities. (2021)
  • California is the leader in justice expenditures and workplace injuries in the U.S., with thousands of cases and millions of dollars to manage each year. (2021)
  • States in the Midwest and surrounding regions generally produce the lowest rates of injuries of any kind, likely due to lower populations in this area. (2021)

Personal Injury and Insurance

Depending on the nature of an injury, relying on an insurance company to cover costs may or may not be a surefire solution. This is particularly true given the sheer magnitude of personal injury costs.

Personal Injury Claims and Insurance Coverage

Out of all personal injury occurrences, only a small percentage make it to trial or are completely supported by insurance coverage. 

Still, as injury rates rise, so do the number of legal proceedings that follow.

  • Figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics show personal injury and product liability filings surged 97%, or up 45,523 cases, in 2020.
  • Civil rights filings with district courts went up by 2% in 2020.

Personal Injury Settlements and Compensation

Fortunately, many people who engage in a personal injury lawsuit or civil rights trial find some benefit in doing so. This is especially true for those with the support of a lawsuit lender to cover financial costs.

Victims don’t need to worry about repaying litigation funding unless their case is won. However, lawsuit loans that cover personal injury litigation costs can come with high interest rates due to a lack of federal regulation. As a result, it’s imperative to choose a lawsuit lender carefully.

Overall, personal injuries continue to be one of the most common financial burdens the average person faces. This cost grows when legal intervention is needed. Choosing a qualified and reputable lawsuit lender helps injury victims get the support they need to recover and move forward.

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