Definitions for Leading Causes of Nonfatal Injury Reports

This section provides definitions of data elements and specific categories within data elements available from WISQARS leading causes of nonfatal injury reports. The data elements in the main report options are intent of injury; sex,  age, and disposition of the patient year of reporting; and number of causes.   Some of these elements are made up of categories, which also are defined below.  The advanced report options address age group formatting.

5.3.1 Data Element: Intent of Injury

Intent of Injury: Whether an injury was caused by an act carried out on purpose by oneself or by another person(s), with the goal of injuring or killing.

Intent of Injury Categories

Unintentional: Injury or poisoning that is not inflicted by deliberate means. Includes those injuries and poisonings described as unintended or “accidental”, regardless of whether the injury was inflicted by oneself or by another person. Also, includes injury or poisoning where no indication of intent to harm was documented in the ED record.

Violence Related: Injury or poisoning resulting from a deliberate violent act inflicted on oneself or by another person with the intent to harm, injure or kill.  This category includes confirmed and suspected assaults, legal intervention (i.e., injury to a person caused by police or other law enforcement officer while in the line of duty), and confirmed or suspected self-harm.

Back to Definitions Menu

Back to Help Menu


5.3.2 Data Element: Race / Ethnicity

Definition: Race or Hispanic origin of the patient as recorded on the emergency department (ED) record. On the ED record, often only one entry is available for race or ethnicity. The classification scheme for this system assumes that most white Hispanics probably were recorded on the ED record as Hispanics, and most black Hispanics probably were recorded as black. The four categories include white, non-Hispanic; black (including Hispanic and non-Hispanic); Hispanic (for all races other than black); and unknown/unspecified.

Requesting nonfatal injury data by race and ethnicity

WISQARS Nonfatal does not offer the option to request leading causes of injury by race/ethnicity because of the relatively high percentage of cases (i.e., approximately 17%) where race and ethnicity were unknown. You can request the number of injuries from a specific cause and intent of injury by race / ethnicity categories by selecting “race” as a sort option on the nonfatal injury report request page. Please note that annualized national estimates presented for each race/ethnicity category will be low because they do not count cases recorded as “unknown” race/ethnicity.


Back to Definitions Menu

Back to Help Menu


5.3.3 Data Element: Sex

Sex: Gender of the patient as recorded on the emergency department record. The three possible categories are male, female, and unknown / undetermined.


5.3.4 Data Element: Disposition

Disposition: The status of the injured person at the time of release from the emergency department. The five possible categories are treated and released; transferred to another facility (e.g., trauma center, rehabilitation unit); transferred and hospitalized; hospitalized; and observed (i.e., held for observation) or unknown.


5.3.5 Data Element: Year of Reporting

Year of Reporting: The year in which the patient was treated in a U.S. hospital emergency department.


Back to Definitions Menu

Back to Help Menu


5.3.6 Data Element:  Number of Causes

These interactive reports allow the user to rank up to 20 causes of nonfatal injury. The default number of rankings is 10. Sometimes a specific cause may not fall in the top 10 causes. If you’re looking for a specific cause, you may need to increase the rankings to ensure the report displays the cause you want.


5.3.7 Advanced Report Options

Advanced report options allow you to further tailor the report you request to your information needs.  The advanced option for a leading causes report is age group formatting

Age Group Formatting

This advanced option allows you to modify the range of the age groups used in the leading causes table or to request a custom age range for the table. 

WISQARS Nonfatal Injury Reports

Next Page: Data Sources