There is a reason children tell their parents it was an “accident”. The word “accident” denies fault and shifts the blame to some other invisible force. It was just an accident. I didn’t mean it- it was an accident. This is precisely why, when we are involved in a car crash, we often use the term “car accident” to describe the event.
Unfortunately, safety advocates warn that this terminology is detrimental to reducing automobile-related deaths. They believe that it shifts the blame off of the negligent or reckless driver, thus abolishing them of any real responsibility. Instead, they propose using the phrase “car crash”.
Safety advocates, such as the New York City nonprofit group Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, believe that the more language we use to sugarcoat car crashes – the less action will be taken to prevent motor vehicle related deaths. Every year, more than 30,000 people are killed on American roads.
Yet, is this entirely accurate? Does the phrase “car accident” absolve negligent drivers completely or is it simply meant to distinguish unintentional harm from malice? Our justice system does distinguish between negligence and criminal intent – and this is just one component. Using the phrase “car accident” might be another way of believing that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Or it could just be a way to show that while someone may be responsible, the injury was unintentionally caused.
Accident or Crash – Negligence is Key
No matter what you call it, however, car accidents or car crashes still cause serious bodily injury and harm. Negligent drivers are still held responsible for paying medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and damages. Even if the accident was unintentional or caused by poor weather, an animal crossing the road, or some other act – if another driver is responsible for your injuries – they can and should be held accountable.
Jenny was driving back from the lake. As she rounded the turn, a deer ran out in front of her car. She swerved her car in an attempt to avoid the deer but ran into the next lane and into an oncoming vehicle. Even though Jenny did not “mean” for the accident to occur and even though the deer running out in the road was the reason for her reaction – Jenny is still responsible for the injuries and damages that she caused.
Preventing Car Crashes More Than Just About Language
Preventing car crashes from occurring will take more than just a tweak in our terminology. It will take real effort on the part of drivers, citizens, and lawmakers. If you wish to avoid a car accident, here are some tips to help:
- Never drink and drive
- Never drive under the influence of drugs
- Avoid tailgating
- Never speed
- Avoid road rage
- Never use your cellphone while driving
- Never text and drive
- Avoid all distractions in the car
- Use turn signals when turning
- Check all mirrors before changing lanes
- Use caution around pedestrians and bicyclists
- Avoid driving in inclement weather
- Slow down in poor weather conditions or in construction zones
- Keep your car serviced properly
Further Reading: Truck Accidents Increase During the Holidays
When Car Crashes Occur
Sometimes, even when you drive safely, an accident can still occur. When you or someone you love is injured in a car crash, it is important to know what you can do to maximize your compensation and protect your rights.
- Call 911 – a police report is crucial to proving who was at fault for the accident.
- Seek Medical Help – some injuries are not immediately apparent. It is always best to seek medical attention after an accident. MRI, CT Scans, and X-rays may uncover an injury that needs immediate attention.
- Take Pictures of Accident – if you are able, take pictures of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, eye witnesses etc. All of this evidence will help your attorney build a case that is designed to maximize your compensation.
- Call an Attorney – after your accident, insurance companies will want to settle quickly. Do not sign any settlement without first speaking to an experienced car accident attorney. Your attorney can review all of your legal options with you, so you can choose the legal path that is best for you.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Car Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in a car accident in Colorado Springs, it is important to know that you are not alone. During this difficult time, our Colorado Springs car accident lawyers can help. We are ready and able to take on even the most complex car accident case. Contact the experienced Colorado Springs car accident attorneys at the Green Law Firm today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and discuss your case. Call us today at 1-719-694-8515.