Is it a Car Crash or a Car Accident?

difference between car crash and car accidentWe all use this term—car accident. In fact, we probably don’t even think twice about what that term really means; what using the term “accident” says about what actually happened. “Accident” is defined as “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.” It also means “an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause.” Whenever anyone is in a “car accident” it’s common to think it’s an unfortunate incident. No want wants to be in a car crash. But what does using the word “accident” really say about what happened?

Recently, the Colorado State Patrol has decided to stop using the word “accident.” Instead they’re to use the words “crash” or “collision.” Why? Well, as the definition above states, an accident is unexpected and unintentional, and therefore is not preventable. On the other hand, a “crash” is something we could avoid, according to CSP.

CSP is exactly right. A car crash can be avoided. They happen due to someone’s negligence, or intentional behaviors. Someone might be distracted while driving, they may be speeding, failing to drive safely when on icy roads, or they may be drunk or high. All of these are actions that can be prevented, and as such, so could the accident.

CSP is asking for Coloradans to start using the terms “crash” or “collision” too. I think this is a great idea. If we can change our perspective on what and why car crashes occur, instead of pretending the act was unavoidable, maybe we can become more aware of our actions. In doing so, we can hopefully prevent future crashes.

We must stop thinking in the terms of “car accidents.” A car crash happens because at least one driver made bad choices and disregarded the risks. That is not an accident. There is an interesting 2003 scholarly journal article in the Journal of Traumatic Stress where the authors assert that the term “crash” should replace the term “accident.” They note that in characterizing the incident as an accident that one may be impeding the recovery of the car crash victims, and not allowing them to deal properly with the trauma of the incident.

When you designate the event as a car accident, you fail to properly put the blame on the party responsible. At McDivitt Law Firm, we are here to help you deal with the legal aspects of a car crash so that you can focus on recovering. We will help to assist you in recognizing who is at fault for the crash, and hopefully assist you in recovering from a traumatic experience. A car crash should not be taken lightly, and the term accident only down plays what has happened to you. Let us all consider what CSP is doing now, and recognize that it is a car crash, not an accident.

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