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Home | Leading Types of Unintentional Injuries 

Leading Types of Unintentional Injuries 

by | Jun 18, 2020 | Personal Injury

Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed due to unintentional accidents. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2017, there were 169,936 deaths due to unintentional injuries. Most unintentional accidents occur at home, while on vacation, or while in the car.

The NSC lists the following as the leading types of unintentional injuries that cause harm and may lead to death.


According to the NSC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. In 2017, the most recent year data were available; there were 64,795 deaths due to unintentional poisoning. That accounts for 19.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Prescription drugs most often cause unintentional poisoning. However, gasses and household chemicals are also common causes of poisoning.

Motor Vehicle Crashes

Motor vehicle crashes are the second-leading cause of unintentional injury and death in the U.S. The NSC attributes the most common causes of crashes to speeding, distracting driving, impaired driving, and inexperience. According to the CDC, in 2017, there were 40,231 deaths caused by unintentional motor vehicle crashes. That accounts for 12.4 deaths per 100,000 people.

Unintentional Falls

Unintentional falls are the third-leading cause of unintentional injuries and deaths in the U.S. Fall injuries and deaths occur among all age groups. Still, the NSC notes that falls are the leading cause of unintentional death among individuals 65 and older. According to the CDC, there were 36,338 unintentional fall deaths in 2017, accounting for 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

Choking and Suffocation

Choking and suffocation are the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury or death among all age groups. The most common factor in these injuries or fatalities is choking on food. Among people 87 years old or older, choking is the leading cause of unintentional injury death.


Drowning is the fifth-leading cause of death among all age groups. According to the NSC, each day, around ten people drown. Most often, drowning deaths among children are due to their falling in a swimming pool or being left unattended in the bathtub. It is the leading cause of unintentional death among children 1-4 years old. 


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