What Is The Difference Between An Accident And A Crash?

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle May 16 2023 4:59 pm

What Is The Difference Between An Accident And A Crash?

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle May 16 2023 4:59 pm
What Is The Difference Between An Accident And A Crash?

In general, a person understands that when referring to an “accident” or “crash,” an unexpected collision occurred. The terms are often used interchangeably. It is, however, important to note the slight difference between the terms for legal purposes.

An accident implies that the collision was unpreventable and that no one was at fault. A crash can imply that someone was to blame and collided with another vehicle. In a personal injury claim, the goal is to prove negligence and that the crash occurred as a result of human behavior. 

If you have been in a crash or collision, a car crash lawyer can help file a claim seeking compensation for your losses.


The Associated Press Now Differentiates Between the Two Terms

The Associated Press revised its style guidelines in recent years. Instead of using the word “accident,” the Associated Press recommended that journalists use the more accurate word “crash, collision, or other terms.” 

The use of the term “crash” or “collision” is more accurate in cases where negligence is either claimed or proven. This adjustment would help to maintain the possibility of fault instead of the absolution of it for the liable party in a collision. 

The meaning of words can be key when determining liability, as even synonymous words still carry minute differences that change the meaning entirely.


Think Defensively When It Comes to Insurance Companies

Even if the two terms have been used interchangeably until recent years, which one do you think that an insurance company might prefer to use? If you say “car accident,” you would usually be right.

If you are discussing negotiations with the insurance company of an at-fault driver, the use of the word “accident” is a clever way for the insurer to insinuate the policyholder was not to blame. After all, if the event was a pure “accident,” why would the insurer be required to pay the other driver’s damages?

What Is The Difference Between An Accident And A Crash?

While choosing to say “accident” might get it into your head that no one was to blame, it does not affect the law on the matter. If your attorney can prove liability, the insurance company should cover your losses. 

Therefore, to ensure the most compensation possible, without a reduction in damages, if an at-fault party exists–which it likely will–you should use the correct word to describe the event.


Types Of Collisions and Contributing Factors 

Some common collisions where someone is usually at fault include:

  • Head-on crashes
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Sideswipes
  • T-bones or broadside crashes

Even a single-vehicle crash can be the fault of another driver, such as when someone runs your car off the road and it hits a barrier.

Some of the most common causes of crashes include:


Contact A Kansas Car Accident Attorney Today

If you have been in a crash and someone else caused the collision, you should protect your legal rights during this uncertain time. A car accident attorney can help. Contact Pyle Law today  at 620-241-9000 to set up a free consultation.

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Pyle Law was founded in 1999 with a commitment to fewer clients and better service. We believe that each and every client is important and everyone is entitled to justice and equal protection under our laws. We make every case a priority and are committed to keeping each client informed about the status of their case. We do not guarantee results, but we do guarantee effort.


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney E. Thomas Pyle who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing personal injury trial attorney.