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Crash, Not Accident: How Words Can Affect Actions

Posted on in Car Accidents

McHenry County car accident attorneyHave you or a loved one been hurt in a situation where another car or truck collided with your vehicle? If so, would you really call the situation an “accident?” It is highly unlikely that the driver hit your car on purpose, so it might be an accident in that sense, but when a wreck occurs, intent and fault are two vastly different ideas. In fact, many people believe that using the word “accident” actually benefits insurance companies and lawyers who defend at-fault drivers. With this in mind, there are national efforts in motion to reduce the use of the word “accident” and to raise awareness regarding how the term can be misleading.

Making Assumptions Subconsciously

In recent years, several advocacy groups have come together to create a national campaign that discourages the word “accident” in car crash cases. Starting in 2015, Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets launched an online educational program and pledge drive intended to eliminate assumptions caused by using “accident.” According to Amy Cohen, who founded Families for Safe Streets after her son was hit by a car and killed in 2013, her son and others like him did not die in accidents. “An ‘accident,’” she maintains, “implies that nothing could have been done to prevent their deaths.”

Proponents of the terminology shift believe that calling a crash an accident gives the subconscious impression that nobody bears specific responsibility for the situation. In reality, most crashes are caused by someone’s actions, inaction, or negligence, which means that someone can and generally should be held responsible.

Language Matters

The advocacy groups and their supporters maintain that using the right words will create more honest discussion and allow for more in-depth investigations and inquiries when crashes happen. They say that avoiding the word “accident” will force us—on an individual level, as well as at the municipal, state, and national levels—to ask important questions. How did the crash happen? Who is to blame? Do crashes happen at the same location often?

The “Crash Not Accident” campaign also reminds the public that factory owners used to call preventable workplace injuries “accidents” prior to the labor movement forcing employers to improve workplace safety. Similarly, drunk drivers often insisted that “it was an accident” when their impaired driving caused others to suffer injuries, but awareness efforts have shifted the thinking about such crashes in recent decades.

The campaign’s organizers point out that we already avoid the word “accident” in certain situations. For example, airplanes do not have accidents. Planes crash. When they do, we demand answers about what happened and why. The same should be true for traffic crashes, the organizers believe.

Contact a Crystal Lake, IL Car Crash Attorney

Dropping a glass is an accident. Tripping over your own feet is an accident. Such accidents are a part of life and unavoidable. A car wreck, however, should not just be accepted as something that happens without a cause. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle crash of any kind, an experienced McHenry County personal injury lawyer can help you explore your options for collecting compensation from the responsible party. Call 815-338-3838 today to schedule a free consultation with a member of the team at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC.







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