When discussing a personal injury case, the difference between the words “accident” and “crash” can have a significant impact. But the actual definitions of those words are not that different. According to Merriam-Webster, an accident is an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance. A crash involves breaking to pieces by or as if by collision. At the end of the day, most auto accident lawsuits involve someone doing something wrong, and those hurt are then able to hold those responsible for the crash accountable for the damages they caused.
Insurance Companies Use the Word “Accident” to Imply No Fault
Insurance companies typically refer to car crashes as accidents because that word implies that the victim’s injury was not anyone’s fault. Similarly, defense lawyers also like using the word accident because they hope that the jury will believe that the crash could not have been avoided and that the accident is not anyone’s fault.
On the contrary, most car crashes are someone’s fault. The vast majority of car accidents involve a driver who acted negligently or recklessly. Even when a car accident is caused by defective equipment, the manufacturer may be at fault for not inspecting the equipment properly. Drivers must carry car insurance in Portland so that when we are at fault for an accident, there is money available to pay for medical bills, property losses, and lost wages.
Referring to an Accident as a Collision is More Accurate
In casual conversations, most people call car wrecks car accidents because it is a commonly used phrase. However, when a personal injury victim’s lawyer is talking to insurance adjusters or the jury, it is wise to refer to the accident as a car crash, car wreck, or collision. Doing so creates the idea that the injuries were someone’s fault. Most car accidents are entirely preventable and should not have happened.
The words collision, wreck, and crash are more accurate than accident for several reasons. First, they give people a better understanding of what happened. An accident can mean many things, like someone spilling coffee inside a car or a teenager bumping into a curb. Technically, these are accidents because the driver did not intend for them to happen. A wreck, crash, or collision implies that one vehicle collided with another vehicle causing injuries and property damage.
When we are with friends having a casual conversation, the phrases we use are not as important. However, when we are in front of a jury, the choice of words we use matters a lot. Suppose you have been in an automobile collision. In that case, you may notice that you see different reactions from people when you refer to the collision as a crash, not an accident, and this could end up making a difference to your eventual insurance or court settlement.
Determining Liability in a Car Collision Can be Difficult
Determining liability for a car accident in Portland can be difficult. That is why personal injury victims should hire an attorney who pays attention to every small detail of the case, including the language used to describe what happened. The lawyers at DuBois Law Group, LLC understand the implications of fault in car collisions, and we strive to use the right phrasing when discussing our clients’ cases with insurance adjusters and in court. We want to help everyone understand that the defendant’s actions or inactions directly caused our clients’ injuries.
Some are Campaigning to Stop Using the Phrase “Car Accidents”
A nonprofit group named “We Save Lives” campaigned to stop using the words ‘car accident’ when referring to car collisions. They have stated that an accident only refers to “an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured but for which legal relief may be sought.” Since most car accidents are caused by driver negligence or intentionally dangerous behavior, the word accident should not be used. As they point out, as many as 93% of car collisions are caused by human error.
Some governments and municipalities have begun changing their language. For example, Michigan’s Department of Transportation has stopped using the word accident and created an informative video for the public regarding the word accident versus crash. This government agency has pointed out that the term crash is more specific about what happens when two vehicles collide and does not imply that the crash was preventable, as does the word accident.
The Associated Press has also revised its style guidelines to recommend that journalists refer to your car collisions as a crash, collision, or another term. They say that using the word accident in auto crash reporting is inaccurate, at least until they can prove whether someone is culpable or not.
Preventable Car Collisions
The difference between a car accident and a crash will play a role in who is ultimately responsible for the car wreck. When it comes to recovering compensation, proving liability is one of the most challenging aspects for victims. The victim who files a personal injury lawsuit will need to prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant’s negligence caused the car accident that resulted in his or her injuries.
When someone is at fault for a car wreck, it is typically referred to as a preventable collision. A preventable collision occurred when the driver failed to do everything reasonable to avoid the accident. In other words, in a preventable collision, the wreck could have been avoided had the driver done the right thing.
Consult With an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Understanding the difference between a car crash and an accident can mean the difference between having a case and not having a case against the at-fault driver. Now that you understand the difference and what to do after an accident, you can make sure you do not jeopardize your personal injury case. One of the best things you can do is contact an experienced car collision lawyer. Contact DuBois Law Group, LLC today to schedule your free initial consultation.