Adverse events arising from health-care management, rather than a disease process, may place as great a burden on society as all other forms of injury put together. By analysing data from the Quality in Australian Health Care Study (a retrospective review of 14 179 medical records representative of admissions to Australian acute care hospitals in 1992), and applying costing techniques based on Diagnosis Related Group (DRG) cost weights, it is possible to compare the economic impacts of different kinds of adverse events. This can assist in determining priorities for interventions. However, due to limitations inherent in DRG cost weights, there is a need to employ further techniques to refine the costing base of adverse events so that it more closely reflects their resource use. Decisions to invest resources in strategies that reduce the risk of adverse events can then be properly informed by economic data.