NFIRS 5.0 Element: ‘Cause of Illness/Injury’

Définition : The physical event that caused the injury or illness.
Purpose : When combined with Body Site and Type of Injury, this element permits an understanding of the conditions causing injury or illness and provides a means of developing strategies to reduce injuries and sudden illnesses.
Entry : Enter the two-digit code that indicates the immediate cause or condition responsible for the injury or illness.

Element Specification

 Specification   Value 
Requirement Optional
Element Type Coded Field – The coded field relating to an entry in the code table. Most coded fields allow for Plus+ One codes. For these fields the expected length of the coded entry is depicted as (National length OR Plus+ One length). Only fields with this notation in the expected length column allow for Plus+ One definitions. If the user has not provided information, an empty field should be transmitted.


Here are the NFIRS codes for the ‘Cause of Illness/Injury’ element

10 Chemical exposure. Includes accidental poisoning by solid or liquid substances, gases, and vapors, which are
not included under accidental drug poisoning (11).
11 Drug poisoning. Includes accidental poisoning by drugs, medicinal substances, or biological products.
12 Fall. Excludes falls that occur in the context of other external causes of injury, such as fires, falling off boats, or
falling in accidents involving machinery in operation.
13 Aircraft-related accident. Includes spacecraft.
14 Bite. Includes animal bites, including non-venomous snakes and lizards. Excludes venomous stings (36).
15 Bicycle accident. Includes any pedal cycle accident. Pedal cycle is defined to include bicycles and tricycles.
Excludes motor vehicle or motorbike accidents.
16 Building collapse/construction accident. Includes all accidents on construction sites. Not to be used for
specific mechanism of injury (e.g., “Fall”).
17 Drowning, not related to watercraft use. Includes swimming accidents, bathtubs, etc.
18 Electrical shock. Includes accidents related to electric current from exposed wires, faulty appliances, high-
voltage cables, live rails, or open electric sockets. Excludes lightning (26).
19 Cold. Includes cold injuries due to weather exposure or cold produced by man, such as in a freezer.
20 Heat. Includes thermal injuries related to weather or heat produced by man, such as in a boiler room or
factory. Excludes heat injury from conflagration (22).
21 Explosives. Includes all injuries related to explosives. Excludes fireworks (25).
22 Fire and flames. Includes burning by fire, asphyxia or poisoning from conflagration or ignition, and fires
secondary to explosions.
23 Firearm. Includes accidental and purposeful firearm injuries.
25 Fireworks. Injuries caused by pyrotechnics designed for or used for display purposes. Includes consumer fire
26 Lightning. Excludes falling objects as a result of lightning and injuries from fires that are a result of lightning.
27 Machinery. Includes machinery accidents except when machinery is not in operation. Excludes electrocution
28 Mechanical suffocation. Includes suffocation in bed or cradle (crib death), closed space suffocation, plastic
bag asphyxia, and accidental hanging.
29 Motor vehicle accident. Includes any motor vehicle accident occurring on or off a public roadway or highway.
30 Motor vehicle accident, pedestrian. Motor vehicle accidents in which the patient was a pedestrian struck by a
motor vehicle of any type. Includes individuals on skates, in baby carriages, in wheelchairs, on skateboards,
and on skis.
31 Non-traffic vehicle accident. Includes any motor vehicle accident occurring entirely off public roadways or
highways. For instance, an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in an off-road location would be a
non-traffic accident.
32 Physical assault/abuse. Includes all forms of battering and non-accidental injury to patients.
33 Scalds/Other thermal. Includes all burn injuries resulting from hot liquids or steam.
34 Smoke inhalation. Includes smoke and fume inhalation from fire.
35 Stabbing assault. Includes cuts, punctures, or stabs of any part of the body.
36 Venomous sting. Includes bites and stings from venomous snakes, lizards, spiders, scorpions, insects, marine
life, or plants. For animal bite, use 14.
37 Water transport. Includes all accidents related to watercraft. Excludes drowning and submersion accidents (17)
unless they are related to watercraft use. Thus, if a person falls out of a boat and drowns, it should be coded within
this category. If a person drowns in a swimming pool or bathtub, it should be coded as “Drowning.”
00 Cause of illness/injury, other.
UU Unknown. Includes situations when data cannot be accurately reconstructed from the run record.

Transactions containing ‘Cause of Illness/Injury’

The value of this element is captured by the following transaction :

Need more NFIRS help?

Here are some other useful ressources to learn more about NFIRS.

NFIRS Codes Cheat SheetNFIRS CodingNFIRS ExamplesFDIDsPOCsNFIRS TransactionsNFIRS ModulesNFIRS ElementsNFIRS RulesNFIRS ReferenceNFIRS Compliant ?

You can also read this NFIRS 5.0 Complete Reference Guide, and NFIRS 5.0 Design Documentation in order to have a deeper understanding of NFIRS 5.0. Here are also NFIRS 5.0 Forms ready for you to download and use.

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Last Updated on April 28, 2023