The total cost to society of injured survivors of motor vehicle crashes has been estimated at $17.5 billion dollars. These estimates have been based, however, on broad assumptions and on fragmentary data derived from multiple, often unrelated sources. The present study was designed to provide better estimates of the total treatment related costs associated with motor vehicle related trauma on a per episode basis and to examine more closely the relationship between these costs and type and severity of injury as measured using the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS). The study consisted of a prospective survey of 269 survivors of traffic related injuries (170 auto/truck, 60 motorcycle and 39 pedestrian) who were admitted to one of two trauma centers. Study participants (ages 16 to 45 inclusive) were interviewed at the time of discharge from acute care and again at 6 months and one-year following discharge. Information was obtained about the use of health and human services within the year since the injury, their associated costs and expected source of payment. Health care providers and third-party payers were contacted to verify and supplement the information provided by the respondent. Average treatment related expenditures associated with motor vehicle related injuries ranged from $9,680 for those with maximum AIS scores of 1-2 to $101,194 for those with maximum AIS scores of 5. Estimates of direct one-year expenditures are presented by category of goods and services (eg. inpatient vs. outpatient care, medical/surgical care vs. rehabilitation; medical supplies/equipment, etc) and by type and severity of injury. The generalizability of these estimates to a defined population of young adults treated at trauma centers and non-trauma centers is discussed.