Most people think that a car crash and a car accident are terms that can be used interchangeably. However, these are two different ways of legally defining an incident involving motor vehicles. When you are in a collision, it is essential to understand whether it was a crash or an accident.
At our law firm, we will gladly meet with you to discuss the details of your case and see whether you can seek compensation for your injuries. We have a thorough understanding of personal injury law and will fight aggressively for the best outcome in your claim. Call today for an appointment at 713-244-8392.
What is a Car Accident?
Understanding what an accident is can help you clearly define when an incident on the road is an accident and when it is a crash. An accident is an unexpected event that did not involve any fault or misconduct on the part of either party. An accident does not involve negligence, it is just simply an unfortunate incident that happened. An example of an accident is when two drivers are obeying speed limits and traffic signs, but the cars collide due to the effects of bad weather. Clearly, an accident cannot lead to a lawsuit because no one can be held responsible.
Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to use the word “accident” to imply that neither driver was at fault. From our experience, this is not always the truth. Instead, the insurance companies are twisting the description of the accident in an attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and they want to avoid making a payout whenever possible. If the other party’s insurance is insisting on labeling the collision an accident and refusing to pay you the compensation you deserve, having a team of talented lawyers, like ours, on your side can come in handy.
What is a Motor Vehicle Crash?
On the other end of the spectrum, a car crash is an incident caused by someone’s negligence or wrongdoing. Another term used for this type of incident is a “preventable collision.” This is a collision where a driver did not take every responsible precaution to try to avoid the impact. In these incidents, one or both drivers may have been acting negligently through their actions, such as running a red light, or their inaction, including a failure to brake. When a crash occurs, there is the potential for a legal claim to be brought against the at-fault driver.
For help determining whether you were in an accident or a crash, give our knowledgeable legal team a call. We will gladly review the details of your case and help you decide whether you should bring a claim against the other party.
What Should You Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Car Crash?
Crashes happen suddenly and can leave you shocked and badly injured. While it can be challenging to keep your head after a crash, staying as calm and collected as possible in these scary situations can be beneficial to both your health and your future claim. Important steps you can take following a crash include:
- Ensure the safety of yourself and other victims: If possible, move to a location on the side of the road that is out of the way of traffic. However, you should avoid moving anyone with a possible spinal injury because it could make it worse. Call 911 if anyone has severe injuries.
- Contact the local authorities: Police reports provide vital evidence about the crash and who may be responsible. If the police have not arrived, contact them to inform them of the incident.
- Collect information from the other driver(s): Get their name, address, registration information, and a photo of their insurance card.
- Take photos of the crash site: Crash scenes are usually cleaned up very quickly so the regular traffic flow can resume. Vital evidence can disappear, so it is crucial to have many photos from different angles that can be used to reconstruct the collision if necessary.
- Gather witness information: Eyewitnesses can also provide important information on the crash. Request the name, address, and phone number of anyone who saw the incident.
- Contact an experienced car crash lawyer: A trusted lawyer can begin investigating the case and will inform you of any further steps you need to take.
Why Are the Descriptions We Use So Important?
Using the word “crash” instead of “accident” may seem like a matter of semantics, but in law, the words you use matter. By calling an incident an accident instead of a crash you could be giving the wrong idea of what actually occurred and not placing responsibility where it belongs for the resulting damages.
Even the prestigious Associated Press updated their AP Stylebook in 2016 to clarify the differences between these two terms. Under the new guidance, journalists were encouraged to use the words “crash” or “collision” instead of “accident” to avoid incorrectly exonerating an individual from responsibility for the crash. This is particularly important in cases where an individual’s negligence in the matter has been claimed or proven.
Why Hire Our Car Accident Attorneys?
When you are in a car crash, you may feel frustrated because your injuries occurred due to someone else’s negligent behavior. You don’t deserve to suffer. Of course, no amount of money can make the pain go away, but you can seek justice and restore financial stability to your family by bringing a personal injury claim. A successful lawsuit can give you the peace of mind that your medical expenses, lost income, and more will be covered.
Don’t go through this difficult process alone. Contact our Houston law firm for help recovering damages for the injuries caused by your car crash. Call today for a free consultation at 713-244-8392.