Coding Auto Accident Injuries

by  Christine Woolstenhulme, QCC, QMCS, CPC, CMRS

There are several different ICD-10-CM code sections that can be used when coding for auto accident injuries. Injury diagnosis codes in ICD-10-CM are found with leading alpha characters S and T. S codes are injuries related to a single body region. T codes are injuries to multiple or unspecified body regions, poisoning, and certain other consequences of external causes. V codes are used for transport accidents and generally have 4 characters.

ICD-10-CM may have from three to seven characters, Generally, the three-character codes are actually headings of sections, although some are complete codes.

One example of a three-character code is I10, Essential (primary) hypertension.

S Code Structure

S-Codes are used for injuries related to a single body region. They are listed in order of affected body region and then the type of injury. Notice below how the codes are structured according to body region first, starting at the head and ending at the foot in the "S" section.

The 2nd Character indicates the part of the body 0 through 9:

S0 = Injury>Head

The 3rd character is decided according to the nature of the injury:

Examples of a dissected injury 'S' code

S02.5  > S single body region > 0 injury to head > 2 fracture > .5 tooth

S21.1 > S single body region> 2 injury to thorax > 1 open wound > .1 front wall of thorax

T Code Structure

V Code Structure

The 2nd character is used to identify the mode of transportation.

The 3rd character identifies the circumstance of the accident.

The 4th character identifies whether the victim is the driver or passenger, and whether the incident occurred in traffic or a non-traffic situation.

Other External Causes of Morbidity Codes

There are a few other code ranges that can be used when coding auto accident injuries (Note that these are not complete codes and will need to be reported with additional characters). 

For a complete list of 2019 ICD-10-CM Guidelines, click here.


Coding Auto Accident Injuries. (2019, December 10). Find-A-Code Articles. Retrieved from

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