Car Accident Head Injury Statistics in the U.S.

Here’s a collection of statistics about brain injuries in car accident victims, from average age to number of deaths to how common this type of injury is.

People who are involved in motor vehicle accidents face a high risk of suffering head injuries, particularly those that cause brain damage or traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is a significant cause of death and disability in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBI is caused by head trauma that interrupts the brain’s normal functioning, such as might occur when you hit your head on a steering wheel or are hit by an airbag.

TBI ranges in severity from a mild concussion to a loss of consciousness, extended memory loss, or even coma or death. Effects of TBI can include mental impairments, such as a loss of vision or hearing, or emotional symptoms such as depression or personality changes.

TBI car crash deaths

Traumatic brain injury can have a severe impact on your life and your loved ones. This article will review vital statistics about car accident head injuries and TBI-related injuries and deaths.

Notable Statistics:

  • Traumatic brain injury caused by car accidents resulted in 10,656 deaths in 2014.
  • Of car crash deaths in 2014, 32.6% were caused by traumatic brain injury.
  • Motor vehicle crashes were the second most common cause of traumatic brain injury hospitalizations in 2014.
  • More than half of people who visited an emergency department for traumatic brain injury involving car crashes were between the ages of 15 and 34.

Traumatic Brain Injury Car Crash Deaths

According to the CDC, 403,530 (14.0%) of the approximately 2.87 million TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths (TBI-EDHDs) that occurred in 2014 were caused by auto accidents.

The total number of TBI-EDHDs includes 56,800 deaths, 10,656 (18.8%) of which were caused by motor vehicle crashes. In fact, motor vehicle crashes were the third leading cause of TBI-related deaths in 2014, with the highest fatality rates being found among people aged 15-34 years, and 75 years or older.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 32,675 people were killed in car crashes in 2014. When combined with the CDC’s statistics on the number of TBI-related traffic fatalities, we can learn that 32.6% of all auto accident deaths involved TBI.

A detailed breakdown of the number of TBI-related car accident deaths is included in the chart below.Age of TBI crash victims

TBI Hospitalizations After a Car Accident

According to the CDC, there were approximately 288,000 TBI-related hospitalizations in 2014. Motor vehicle crashes were the second most common cause of TBI injuries for which the victim was hospitalized, accounting for 20.4% of all TBI-related hospitalizations.

Age groups with the highest rate of TBI-related hospitalizations caused by car crashes were 15-24 year-olds, 25-34 year-olds, and 45-54 year-olds. The number of TBI-related auto accident hospitalizations by age group is detailed below.

Age Group Car Crash Hospitalizations Percent of Total Car Crash Hospitalizations
0-4 years old 870 1.5%
5-14 years old 2,395 4.1%
15-24 years old 12,925 22.0%
25-34 years old 11,050 18.8%
35-44 years old 7,305 12.4%
45-54 years old 8,490 14.4%
55-64 years old 7,280 12.4%
65-74 years old 4,485 7.6%
75+ years old 3,965 6.7%
Total 58,765 100.0%

TBI car crash hospitalizations

Car Crash Head Injury Emergency Room Visits

The CDC reported that approximately 2.5 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits occurred in the United States in 2014. Motor vehicle crashes accounted for 13.2% of these visits, making car accidents the third leading cause of TBI-related ED visits.

The age groups with the highest rates of TBI-related car crash ED visits were 15-24, 25-34, and 35-44 years. The following chart details the number of ED visits involving TBI caused by motor vehicle accidents by age.

Age Group Car Crash ED Visits Percent of Total Car Crash ED Visits
 0-4 years old 5,464 1.6%
5-14 years old 19,785 5.9%
15-24 years old 103,892 31.1%
25-34 years old 71,641 21.4%
35-44 years old 44,108 13.2%
45-54 years old 40,020 12.0%
55-64 years old 27,193 8.1%
65-74 years old 13,829 4.1%
75+ years old 8,176 2.4%
Total 334,109 100.0%

Car crash head injury ER visits

Trends in Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics

While the number of TBI-related ED visits increased by a whopping 63% between 2006 and 2014, the number of TBI-related ED visits caused by motor vehicle crashes only increased by 31.1%. In the same period, the changes in TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths were much more modest, with numbers rising by 3.5% and 4.3%, respectively.

However, while the overall number of TBI-related hospitalizations increased during this time, the number of TBI-related hospitalizations attributable to motor vehicle crashes decreased by 29%. Similarly, while the total number of TBI-related deaths rose, the number that involved car accidents decreased by 34.4%.Trends in TBI stats

If you or a family member has suffered a traumatic brain injury or another head injury in a car accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages the injury has caused in your life.

The first step towards winning a settlement is to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury law firm near you. An experienced attorney can evaluate your case and determine the amount of compensation you may be able to recover.

Amy Grover is a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, then passing the bar exam in 2014, Amy began her diverse career as a practicing attorney. Amy has a range of experience in the legal field, including work with the Department... Read More >>