Guide to Calculating Costs

The National Safety Council makes estimates of the average costs of fatal and nonfatal preventable injuries to illustrate their impact on the nation’s economy and measure the importance of prevention. The costs are a measure of the dollars spent and income not received due to injuries and fatalities.

Major revisions were made to the NSC cost model starting with the 2014 data year to take advantage of data sources not previously available. Because of changes made to the cost model, cost estimates provided prior to 2014 are not comparable to current estimates.

This page illustrates how costs can be estimated for a community or state. The figures should be used to estimate the actual costs to society of deaths and injuries. The comprehensive cost figures discussed below should be used for cost benefit analyses.

Cost estimation is not exact – it can only be approximated. The estimates depend on many factors. Any cost estimates derived from information provided here should be rounded to indicate they are approximations, not exact figures. The recommended rules for rounding are: for estimates less than $3,000,000, round to the nearest $100,000; for estimates between $3,000,000 and $10,000,000, round to the nearest $500,000; for estimates between $10,000,000 and $30,000,000, round to the nearest $1,000,000; and for estimates greater than $30,000,000, round to the nearest $5,000,000.

Visit the data details tab to explore how to calculate costs for motor-vehicle, work-related, as well as injuries occurring in other sectors.

See data details