Any collision that results in injury or even in damage to your property is, of course, an event that you want to avoid. Most people lump all of these incidents into the category of “accidents,” but, to us and the clients we represent, there are some important differences between “accidents” and “crashes.”
The term “accident” deflects blame, or shifts blame from a person to some other cause, such as the weather. Using the word “accident” allows insurance companies to more easily deny claims and juries to more easily avoid assigning fault to negligent parties.
Remember that even when the insurance company’s policyholder caused the crash, the insurer will do everything to deny or devalue your claim. This is true for car crashes and even more so for motorcycle collisions, injured bicyclists, pedestrians, people with strollers, and people in wheelchairs who were hit simply trying to cross the street.
If you were hurt on your bike, in your car, or in any incident involving driver negligence, it’s important to hire an attorney who knows the difference between a crash and an accident. Capable lawyers use consistent language when dealing with insurance companies in an effort to prevent them shifting the blame onto you.
Keep reading to learn the subtle but pivotal difference between a crash and an accident.
What is a car crash?
There is no legal difference between the terms “crash” and “accident” but they create different impressions. A crash is a wreck or collision that is due to the fault of one or more parties. When you’re in a car, motorcycle, or bike crash, the party responsible for the crash will be liable for the damages to the other parties involved.
A DUI crash is a prime example of reckless and egregious conduct that would in no way be considered an “accident,” no matter what the drunk driver or their attorneys say. The DUI driver made a willful decision to get drunk, and that choice caused a series of poor decisions that led to them hitting another person.
The drunk driver didn’t “accidentally” get behind the wheel of their car, just like they didn’t “accidentally” drink the alcohol or take the drugs that inhibited their decision making. They knew, or should have known, that driving in that condition would be a bad idea.
How does an accident differ from a crash?
As defined by Farlex Legal Dictionary, an accident is “an event that takes place without one’s foresight or expectation; an undesigned, sudden, and unexpected event.” When a collision is truly an “accident,” then the determination of fault isn’t an issue because by definition, no party is at fault.
In such situations, each party would be responsible for their own damages. Insurance companies tend to prefer the term “accident,” as it helps them to evade their responsibility to cover damages.
Some of the most common motor vehicle “accidents” are those caused by adverse weather conditions. If a sudden snowstorm leads to a white-out which makes it impossible for any drivers to safely operate their car and a collision occurs, it may be deemed an “accident.”
Reach out to a car crash attorney from Johnson & Groninger PLLC
The process of recovering compensation for your car, motorcycle, or bike crash (even those that others label as “accidents”) can be complex and may require the drafting, submitting, and negotiation of your claim with the insurance company and their attorneys. Working with an attorney of your own supports your best interests and increases your chances of receiving the highest possible settlement in your favor.
An experienced Charlotte car accident lawyer from our firm is available to advocate for your best interests in your car crash or accident. Give our Charlotte office a call at (704) 200-2009 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.