Injuries are a Leading Cause of Death in Massachusetts

Injuries - which include homicides, suicides, unintentional injuries, and injuries of undetermined intent - are the leading cause of death for Massachusetts residents, ages 1 to 44 years, and the third leading cause of death for all ages combined.

Injuries are NOT Random Chance Events or "Accidents"

Most injuries follow a very predictable sequence of events and can be prevented using specific strategies.

To learn more about preventing injuries and to access educational materials visit the Department's Injury Prevention and Control Program

Injury Classifications

Injuries are classified according to specific codes in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) Manual. These codes provide information on the "intent" of the injury (e.g., assault-related, intentionally self-inflicted, unintentional or "accidental"), the "cause" of injury, such as fall or motor vehicle crash, and the "nature and anatomic location" of the injury (e.g., multiple fractures involving skull or face, dislocation of hip).


Intent of Injury

External Cause
of Injury

Nature and Anatomical
Location of Injury

  • Unintentional - "Accidental"
  • Suicide/Intentional Self-inflicted
  • Homicide/Assault-related
  • Other/Legal
  • Injury of Undetermined Intent
  • Adverse Effects
  • Fall
  • Firearm
  • Poisoning/Drug overdose
  • Motor vehicle
  • Fire/burn
  • Drowning
  • Cut/pierce
  • Machinery
  • Struck by/against an object
  • Suffocation/hanging
  • Fracture of skull
  • Open wound to the chest
  • Sprain to ankle
  • Dislocation to shoulder
  • Internal injury to abdomen
  • Burn to upper back
  • Crushing injury of forearm
  • Foreign body in trachea



This information is provided by the Injury Surveillance Program within the Department of Public Health.