Good communication requires being mindful of the words we use. In a legal setting, word choice is critical, whether written or spoken. For instance, when talking about an auto collision, many people refer to the event as an “accident.”
The word “accident” refers to intent. And though it is true that very few auto wrecks are intentional, is “accident” really the word we should use when talking about a wreck?
Implications of the term “accident”
Insurance adjusters love the term “accident” because it denies culpability for their insured motor. But in serious incidents, especially cases involving personal injury, using the term “accident” could complicate the case.
Although a collision may not be intentional, someone is still at fault. Collisions often result from negligence, distraction, or lack of responsibility in some capacity. To name an incident an “accident” detracts from the reality that someone is at fault. And in a personal injury case determining fault is crucial.
What to say instead of “accident”
We need to adjust our vocabulary when it comes to car “accidents.” Words to use instead include “crash,” “wreck,” or “collision.” Each of these words communicate an incident more accurately, implying that someone is at fault.
The only time that it may be permissible to use the term “accident” is when a crash results from adverse weather or road conditions. Even under those conditions, however, a driver is sometimes at fault for not adjusting his or her driving to the conditions.
One more thing…
If you experience an auto collision and you believe you are clearly at fault, never admit fault in any way, even by saying “I’m sorry.” Regardless if you think you are at fault, there may be factors beyond your knowledge that also contributed to or caused the incident. When you admit fault, you can be held legally accountable to your words.
An auto collision can be scary, emotional, and frustrating. Sometimes what you need is an outside party to come alongside and help you navigate the post-wreck steps. Many people find that calling a personal injury attorney to come to the site of the incident gives them peace of mind that everything will be handled carefully.
Attorney Richard Smith has walked alongside many people who have been involved in a wreck and has helped them avoid many of the pitfalls that come with a traffic incident. Be prepared for whatever comes you way by saving his number: 864-300-4878.
We have a 24-hour intake service. If you call us anytime of day, you will always talk to a person, not a machine. We are here for you each step of the way.
Disclaimer: Principle office is located at 1210 Laurens Rd, Greenville, SC 29607. No fee unless the case is settled or won, costs may be excluded.