Injuries may be divided into three broad groups – preventable (accidental), intentional, and undetermined intent. Most of Injury Facts presents data on preventable injuries, which account for about 72% of all injury deaths in the United States. This section investigates intentional injury trends and how they compare to preventable injuries.
Intentional injuries may be divided into four subgroups – intentional self-harm (suicide), assault (homicide), legal intervention, and operations of war.
Intentional self-harm includes suicide and attempted suicide resulting from purposely self-inflicted poisoning or injury. The most common methods of suicide are firearms, hanging, strangulation and suffocation, and poisoning. Suicide accounted for 45,979 deaths, or 17% of all injury-related deaths in 2020.
Assault includes homicide and injuries inflicted by another person with intent to injure or kill (excluding legal intervention and operations of war). The most common means of homicide are firearms, sharp objects, and hanging, strangulation and suffocation. Assault deaths totaled 24,576 in 2020, or 9% of all injury-related deaths.
Legal intervention includes legal execution, as well as legal interventions involving firearms, blunt objects, sharp objects, and manhandling. Operations of war includes injuries to military personnel and civilians caused by war and civil insurrection.
Legal intervention resulted in 780 deaths, while operations of war accounted for 13 deaths; each was less than 1% of the total in 2020.
Operation of war deaths occurring overseas are not included in the data. In the vital statistics system, war deaths (and other deaths) occurring outside the United States are counted by the country in which they occurred.