Hospital Emergency Departments Treat 3.5 Million Crash Victims Each Year

Insurance Coverage of Crash Victims
The majority of patients treated following a motor vehicle accident were covered by private insurance.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

About 3.5 million motor vehicle crash victims were treated in emergency departments in 2006 for injuries ranging from scrapes and bruises to life-threatening trauma, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Roughly 85%, or 3 milion, of the crash victims were treated and released, while another 321,000 were admitted or transferred to another acute care hospital for inpatient care. About 8,000 victims died in the emergency department.

The federal agency’s analysis of motor vehicle accident victims treated in hospital emergency departments in 2006 also found that:

  • 37% of crash victims were treated in hospital trauma centers that were equipped to provide comprehensive emergency medical care to people who suffer life-threatening injuries. The remaining patients were treated in hospitals not designated as trauma centers. Of patients treated following vehicle accidents:
  • About 25% of the victims were uninsured; 55% had private health insurance; 10% were covered by Medicaid; 4% covered by Medicare; and the remaining 7% had other types of coverage; and
  • Sprains accounted for 44% of the injuries treated; superficial injuries such as scrapes, accounted for 35%; open wounds 10%; and head injuries accounted for 5% of the motor vehicle injuries seen in the emergency department. Other types of injuries included fractures (about 15%) and internal injuries of the thorax, abdomen and pelvis (3%).

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