What is the definition of serious injury?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2020 | Personal Injury

When looking into personal injury claims, it is usually advisable to focus on seeking damages for serious injuries. Minor injuries often are not expensive enough to justify going to court and the expenses related to that process.

However, the challenge is deciding what constitutes a serious injury. In your case, you will usually look at how much the injury cost you. However, when it comes to others who use accident injury data, there needs to be a standard. The Federal Highway Administration developed a uniform definition that helps with categorizing injuries for data-gathering purposes.


The FHA definition is an injury that is non-fatal but causes a severe medical situation. The FHA requires the injury potentially involves unconsciousness, crushed body parts or paralysis. It also lists second or third-degree burns and broken or distorted arm or leg as a potential qualification. Finally, the FHA also considers a laceration that exposes underlying tissue or causes significant blood loss or injuries to the abdomen, skull or chest as situations of a severe injury.

Having one or more of these types of injuries would qualify it as a serious injury under the definition from the FHA.

Data collection

The uniform definition from the FHA is useful when agencies want to gather information. Many agencies at the state and federal levels keep data on auto accidents, including following the number of fatalities and serious injuries. By having this definition, it enables all the different agencies in every state and at the federal level to keep consistent data. It also helps ensure more accurate data. Having high-level data benefits everyone because authorities use this data to help develop programs, guide law enforcement and instill laws that help to reduce auto accidents.

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