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How Long Are Most Hospital Stays After Being in a Car Wreck?

Published on Sep 9, 2021 at 3:38 pm in Car Accidents.

Doctors in hospital hallway

Treatment after an injury-causing car accident can range from on-site first aid to extended hospitalization. How much medical care a crash victim requires is highly depended on the type and severity of injuries sustained in the auto wreck.

As we look at the topic of hospital treatment following a car wreck, we will examine research-based data related to hospitalization rates and stay lengths in the U.S. and in the state of Mississippi. Knowledge about potential crash-related injuries, collision prevention methods, and legal options after an accident can be helpful to individuals who have been involved in an auto crash, as well as to any driver who operates a motor vehicle on our state and national roadways. If you were injured in an auto wreck and are in need of legal advice, reach out to a Jackson, MS car accident lawyer with experience handling vehicle collision cases.

Average Hospital Stay Lengths

So just how long are most hospital stays? This often-tracked hospital metric is referred to as length of stay (LOS) or calculated broadly for specific groups of patients as average length of stay (ALOS). An ALOS statistic can indicate the efficiency of a hospital. Shorter durations generally mean better overall hospital performance and lower medical bills for patients. A patient’s LOS is measured from the date of admission to the date of discharge for a single episode of hospitalization.

Based on Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) research published in 2018, the following data can be seen regarding average hospital stays in the United States:

  • In the U.S., there were approximately 35.7 million hospital stays over the course of the year.
  • The mean LOS for these hospital stays was 4.6 days per patient.
  • Patients 65-85 years of age had the highest ALOS, at 5.2 days.
  • Patients 18-44 years of age had the lowest ALOS, at 3.8 days.
  • Male patients had a higher mean LOS (5 days) than female patients (4.3 days).
  • The East South Central region of the country (Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky) had a disproportionately high rate of hospitalization compared to population, the highest hospitalization rate in the country.
  • In the East South Central region, the ALOS was 4.8 days—slightly higher than the national average (4.6 days).

The Mississippi State Department of Health also published a 2019 report examining trends in urban and rural hospitalization in the state of Mississippi between 2014 and 2018. Information about average length of hospital stays was included in the published findings:

  • Over the five-year period, the average hospital stay remained around 5 days for large and small city areas in the state of Mississippi.
  • Over the same period, rural hospital ALOS rates decreased from 7.9 days to 6 days.

Although these numbers can give us a broad overview of national and state-specific tendencies related to hospitalization duration, the length of an individual’s healthcare following a car accident will vary dramatically depending on the seriousness of injuries. Minor bumps and bruises may require only several minutes of a doctor’s time, while catastrophic damage may force a patient to spend weeks of recovery time in a hospital. In addition to the nature and severity of injuries, other factors play a part in determining the amount of time a patient will need to spend under hospital supervision. These medical, social, and environmental elements can include:

  • Overall physical health before the injury
  • Pre-existing underlying health conditions
  • Immune system condition
  • Age
  • Any complications arising after injury
  • History of previous hospital admission
  • Quality and efficiency of hospital care
  • Size, staffing, and urban/rural location of hospital
  • Patient insurance coverage and method of payment
  • Specialty of treating physician
  • At-home care options following discharge

After examining some overarching information on hospital stays, let’s look more specifically at data on hospitalization incidents directly linked to automobile collision injuries.

Car Accident Injuries and Hospitalization

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2014 analyzed the frequency and cost of hospital visits associated with car accident injuries. The following data is based on one year of vehicular accident incidents occurring in the United States:

  • Over 2.5 million people went to the emergency room and nearly 200,000 were hospitalized due to motor vehicle crash injuries.
  • Around 7,000 people visited an emergency department every day for car crash injuries.
  • On average, each car crash victim paid about $3,300 for an emergency room visit and each hospitalized patient spent $57,000 in medical costs for accident injuries.
  • Lifetime medical costs for all crash injuries totaled $18 billion.

Based on reported findings, the CDC recommended actions to reduce vehicular collision injuries. These advised actions included stronger seat belt and child car seat enforcement, reduced drinking and driving incidents, more safety and sobriety checkpoints, improved teen driver safety awareness, and better research to determine why crashes happen and what can be done to prevent them. The most common injuries associated with a vehicular crash are:

  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries, including whiplash
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and paralysis
  • Bruises and abrasions
  • Loss of limbs or amputation
  • Knee, wrist, and ankle injuries
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Internal injuries, organ damage, and internal bleeding
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Burns
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Lacerations
  • Crushing or pressure-related injuries
  • Emotional trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Find a Knowledgeable Jackson, MS Car Accident Lawyer

Our car accident lawyers at Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, PLLC have collectively met with countless auto collision victims. Some clients come to us when their vehicle has been damaged or totaled in an accident caused by another driver. Other clients reach out for assistance seeking damages after incurring steep medical bills following a vehicular wreck. In the most heartbreaking cases, we work with the family members of those killed in a car accident, helping them to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party that caused the fatal crash.

If you are in search of an experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable car accident attorney to help you with your claim, reach out to our office today. We can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.

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