All causes of injury

injury to lower leg

Injuries are a major health care issue in Australia. In the latest years for which data was available, injuries accounted for:

In 2019–20, there were around:

527,000 injury hospitalisations

2,100 per 100,000 population


13,400 injury deaths

53 per 100,000 population


Defining injury hospitalisations and deaths

This report aims to count and describe injury incidents that result in hospital admission/s and/or death.

Our counting method is different to some other AIHW reporting, where each use of a service may be counted (e.g. MyHospitals), rather than each causal incident. A single incident can lead to more than one use of a service. Our exclusion method minimises double-counting where possible.

If a person dies from an injury after being admitted to hospital, both the hospitalisation and the death were counted for this report.

Injury hospitalisations

The terms ‘injury hospitalisation’, ‘hospitalised injury’ and ‘hospitalised case’ in this report refer to incidents where a person was admitted to hospital with injury as the main reason. If a single incident led to an admission in more than one hospital, the incident has only been counted once. Details are in the Technical notes.

Hospitalisation exclusions

To avoid double-counting hospitalised injuries, we have excluded admissions that are transfers from another hospital and admissions with rehabilitation procedures (except for acute hospital admissions).

Emergency department (ED) care is a form of non-admitted hospital care and not counted here. See the AIHW MyHospitals topic for information on ED presentations due to injury.

Injuries caused by complications of surgery or other medical care, or injuries that are a subsequent condition caused by a previous injury, are not included in this report.

Month of admission analysis

Month of admission data was produced to illustrate seasonal trends and the impact of COVID-19 restrictions after March of 2020. The sum of the monthly counts are slightly different than the annual totals used everywhere else for two reasons. Firstly, the monthly totals were adjusted to suit comparison between months of different length. Secondly, the annual totals used everywhere else are based on separations rather than admissions.

Injury deaths

While death records have many of the same fields as hospital records, there are subtle differences in the way they are structured.

It’s not always possible to determine the main cause of death when multiple causes are involved. For this reason, a different selection criteria must be applied to reasonably identify where injuries played a role. As a result, each death where injury played a role has been counted once in the total for this report, but in some cases counted in more than one external cause category.

For details about methodology, see the Technical notes.