Socio-economic costs and the value of prevention
The socio-economic cost of fatal, serious, minor injuries and taking into account intangible elements is estimated to be about 2% of EU countries’ gross domestic product - around Euro 180 billion and twice the EU’s annual budget.
Many national estimates, however, do not take account of the cost of long-term disability resulting from road traffic accidents and associated intangible costs. Injuries reported as being minor at the time of crash can often lead to costly long term disability. One British study , which contributed to subsequent national accident cost estimates, monitored the costs to the Health and Social Security services of treatment of patients with whiplash and fractures over a 4 year period. For fracture injuries, the largest single cost to the Health Service was in-patient treatment and for ‘whiplash’ patients physiotherapy was the largest single cost. Long term disability also brings, however, many intangible costs to the patient and family.