Difference between a Crash and an Accident

Accident and crash are loaded words. There is a lot of debate about whether an accident is actually an accident. Aren’t all accidents just ‘crashes’ that can be prevented? This discussion can become confusing if the semantics of the words are dominant. There are gray areas.

An accident can lead to a crash if your vehicle collides with something, but that won’t always happen. You could, for example, slide off the road without causing any damage to your vehicle or yourself. Most accidents can be avoided (this is an important fact). However, the term accident refers to the intent of the driver at that time. Although an accident can result in injury, death, and damage, it is the intention of the driver that caused them to occur that determines how we should see this.

Let’s forget about semantics and just look at it objectively what is the difference in meaning between a crash and an accident?

You have caused/had an accident if you intentionally drive your vehicle into another object. Because it was not accidental, you have not caused an accident.

Accidents are when you lose control of your vehicle while driving and end up hitting someone or something. Although the accident result was a crash it is still an accident. Some road safety campaigners use this point to suggest that all actions on the road are deliberate.

Every activity we take on in our lives carries some risk. Your risk of getting in or on your vehicle while driving on roads increases. You must stop using your vehicle.

Grey area: You do not know what you are doing that could increase your risk. Your risk of having a crash is increased by using your phone while driving. However, you didn’t cause the crash. It was your acceptance and elevation of the risk that caused the crash. Is it possible to call it an accident?

Difference between a Crash and an Accident

Commonly, people use the terms car accident and car crash interchangeably. This may not be a problem in daily conversation. It is best to not do this in the context of a legal claim for recovery. Here are the reasons.

Definition of “Crash”

Merriam-Webster defines a car crash as “a breaking of pieces by or as though by collision” or “an instance or crashing.” There are many reasons that car crashes happen every day in the United States.

  • Failing to obey traffic signals
  • Driving and texting
  • DUI
  • Accelerating,
  • Driving distracted.

But, not all crashes are considered “accidents” by law.

“Accident” Defined

An “accident” does not necessarily mean that one person is at fault.

Merriam-Webster defines an incident as “unexpected occurring causing loss or injury which was not due to fault or misconduct on part of the person injures but for which legal recourse may be sought.”

In a true accident, there’s no fault or misconduct.

So what is the difference in meaning between a crash and an accident?

Both a crash and an accident can cause severe injuries, but the main difference is whether there is fault. Sometimes car collisions can occur due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

However, it is more common than not that someone is at fault. If this is the case, the crash should not be considered an accident.