We investigated the attributable health care costs of patients who were hospitalised after a traffic injury in Belgium between 2009 and 2011. Clinical and demographic information from a national hospital dataset and health care costs from sickness funds were linked at the individual level. A total of 61,232 traffic victims were identified in the hospital dataset and included in the study. Weekly average health care costs, as well as average attributable health care costs, were calculated until one year after the initial traffic injury hospitalisation. These weekly costs were analysed and compared to the average weekly costs prior to the injury hospitalisation using Generalized Estimation Equations within a case-crossover design. Different costs patterns were estimated for mild, moderate, and severe injury according to ICD-derived Injury Severity Score (ICISS) categorisation. The overall total average attributable health care cost for the first year after the traffic crash was €9977 (€ 2015 prices). The highest attributable health care cost is directly after the injury hospitalisation (3608% higher in the first week compared to average weekly costs before the injury hospitalisation). Compared to the one year period prior to the hospitalisation, the health care expenditures are at least twice as high until week 17. The costs were still significantly higher up to one year after traffic injury onset (32%). These results are based on the analyses of the total population, but similar patterns in the cost trajectories were found for the different ICISS categories. Long term health care expenditures, rather than health care expenditures related to acute care episode only, should be considered in budget planning or priority setting in, for example, traffic injury prevention programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Transport & Health
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Bibliographical note



  • Attributable costs
  • Economic impact assessment
  • Hospitalization
  • Longitudinal cost analysis
  • Traffic injury


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