Accident or Crash

Miley Legal Group

Merriam Webster defines an accident as an “unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to the fault of the person injured.”  When someone says to you, that what they did was an accident, what immediately do you think?  Like most, you think that what occurred was not the intent, regardless of the actions of the individual who caused the “accident.”   It was not their fault.

In the car crash world, when you use the term accident, most automatically make the assumption that the driver causing the crash never intended to do so and so his actions should be exonerated.  Most insurance companies rely on this thought, and in fact the word accident was pushed by the auto industry to take attention away from the car itself.  That exoneration has now moved to the driver over the years, which then requires the victims of these so called “accidents” to overcome the apathy of the general public and insurance adjusters.

Safety Advocates Use Car Crash, Some Lawyers too

There is a movement by safety advocates nationally, to stop labeling automobile crashes as “accidents.”  We use that term throughout our website and advertising because the general public associates that term with our type of services.  But, as mentioned in a recent New York Times article, many states have actually begun changing rules and regulations to remove the work “accident” and replace it with the word “crash.”  In fact, in April of last year, the Associated Press began urging its reporters to use the word “crash” when speaking of auto collisions where someone is either thought to be or found negligent.

How Do Insurance Agents Use the Term Accident to their Advantage?

It is important when dealing with insurance companies and negligent drivers, that we immediately do not give them cover by calling their actions “accidents.”  Driving distracted, drunk or even recklessly driving is not accidental.  There are specific actions that those drivers take that then directly cause the collision that then result in injuries to other drivers and passengers.  The reality in the car crash world is that most crashes can be prevented.

This age old argument will continue for years to come.  Putting it in perspective is a way to begin a change in the public frame of reference.  Whether we call them accidents or crashes, they can be deadly and we should focus on preventing them.  If calling them a “crash” over an “accident” helps address some of the issues, then so be it.

Sources:; New York Times “It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car ‘Crashes’ Instead” by Matt Ritchtel, May 22, 2016